GRANADA HILLS (CBSLA.com) — While local Muslim Americans mark Ramadan and celebrate Independence Day, they also say they're being vigilant amid terror warnings this weekend.
CBS2/KCAL9 Political Reporter Dave Bryan spoke to members of a mosque in Granada Hills as they were breaking the day's Ramadan fast. During this month-long period of reflection, Muslims fast during daylight hours to purify the soul, refocus attention on God and practice self-sacrifice.
Some members of the congregation are disappointed Ramadan coincides with July 4 this year because they may miss on some of the holiday fun.
"Really, Independence Day is what's on my mind, for the most part. I grew up in this country so Independence Day is always a big thing," Muslim American Faisal Mirza said. "It's a little bit tougher because I can't eat during the day, so that rules out all the barbeques - which is really the thing that hurts me the most."
This year is especially difficult for American Muslims, who say they're concerned that warnings about a possible Fourth of July terrorist attack and the fears that follow may cast them in a bad light.
"It's a test for a lot of Muslims, because our religion preaches peace," Muslim American Tariq Shaik said. "Any type of terrorist activity, God forbid if anything was to happen, it goes against what our religion really preaches."
Muslim American Syed Adnan Kazi added, "It's pretty unfortunate that people think all Muslims are the same. Unfortunately, some Americans think that way. So our job and our goal is to tell everybody: We're not like that. We're Muslims Americans. We live here. This is our country. We contribute to society."
The mosque falls under the district of Congressman Brad Sherman, who met with Muslim leaders earlier Friday. He said the discussion was not about terrorism warnings this weekend, stressing that the concerns of his Muslim constituents are the same as everyone else's.
"The fact is that there are millions of Muslims here in the United States, tens of thousands here in the San Fernando Valley, and these are our fellow citizens, these are Americans," Sherman said.
The congressman said ISIS has made it very clear - it would like nothing better than to trigger a worldwide religious war, turning Christians and Muslims against one another. And he says it is crucial that we not allow that to happen.
"The big headlines are the big headlines," Sherman shrugged, adding, "The fact is, we're here in the San Fernando Valley and we get along."
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