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Southern California Muslim Leaders On Paris Attack: 'What They Did Is Abhorrent; We Condemn It'

IRVINE ( — A special forum in Irvine focused on the issue of Muslim extremism on Tuesday night, as Orange County Muslim leaders told dozens of attendees that Islam does not promote violence.

The Muslim Voices for Peace forum at Pacifica Institute, days after terror attacks in Paris, provided religious leaders and teachers an opportunity to get their message across, as well as for people of many faiths to gather together to denounce the killings.

The killing of 12 people in Paris was said to be in reaction to magazine Charlie Hebdo's satirical illustrations of the Muslim prophet, Muhammad.

"What they did is abhorrent, and we condemn it, and that should not happen," Shia Muslim Council of Southern California's Sayed Moustafa al-Qazwini said. "I believe if prophet Muhammad was alive today, and he looks at these cartoons, he would forgive the people. He would smile, he would not be angry."

Muslim leaders called the terrorists a small, fringed group of extremists, who by no means represent the 1.5 billion Muslims in the world.

"They do not represent the true message of prophet Muhammad," al-Qazwini said.

The meeting was planned months ago, but the events that took place in Paris on Jan. 7 made the topic of the issue more timely.

"This group of people, they have done a lot of wrong to us, to Muslims, yet they are the ones who are capturing the media, they are the ones in the headlines," Islamic Society of Orange County Director Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi said. "(Meanwhile), we speak for peace, and we are not in the headlines."

One Muslim leader says that this fringe group of terrorists have done a great disservice to all Muslims — particularly to those who call France home.

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