Local Muslim community leaders say ISIS misrepresenting their religion

Peaceful group wants to fight against terror organization

ORLANDO, Fla. – Local Muslim leaders say they are a peaceful group that wants to fight against terror and that ISIS is misusing and misrepresenting their religion.

"Islam is a religion of peace. These people have hijacked Islam and they are misusing it completely, " says Iman Tariq Rasheed of the Islamic Center of Orlando.

Central Florida Muslim leaders, are condemning the attacks in Brussels, saying the terror group behind it ISIS is giving their peaceful religion a bad name.

"These terrorist people, they are just undoing our good job, so we feel obligated to come out in defense of our religion, in defense of what we believe is right," Rasheed said.

They say adding fuel to the hate are the recent comments made by presidential hopeful, Sen. Ted Cruz, who is calling for more patrols of Muslim neighborhoods in America.

"Islamism is a political and theocratic philosophy that commands it adherence to wage violent jihad to murder infidels, which they define as everyone else," Cruz said in an appearance on "CBS This Morning."

Anchor Gale King responded with, "But you're painting one community with one brush."

Cruz answered, "No, I'm not, there's a difference between Islam and Islamism. Islamism commands that you either murder the infidels or you forcibly convert them."

Local Muslim leaders say if that happens, there would be a backlash between American Muslims and the communities they live in.

"It breaks the trust. It breaks honesty. It will create a bigger wall, instead of us all as Americans, it will become us as American Muslims and everyone else, and this is something we don't want to do,"  said Iman Helmii Elagha of the American Muslim Leadership Council.

This isn't the first time local Muslim leaders have come out against ISIS attacks. They also did so after the Paris bombing last November.

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