NASHUA, N.H. (CBS) – As they arrive for Friday prayers, the killing of Muslims in New Zealand is still fresh on the minds of a congregation in Nashua, New Hampshire, one week later.
“It’s sad; the situation is not in our favor right now,” said Muhammad Akbar, president of the Islamic Society of Greater Nashua.
That’s why, one week later, they’ve made necessary security changes as police officers greet worshippers at the door, and the doors to the mosque are being locked now in between prayer services, an act which runs counter to their beliefs.
“We are not used to it. We are open all the time because the mosque is someplace you feel comfort, and it’s open for everybody,” said Noman Hamid.
For these Muslims, it’s their sanctuary, but when a white supremacist opened fire on two mosques in New Zealand last week, it left this small congregation feeling vulnerable and some afraid. “A little bit,” said Sekinah Ajiboye. “But we also put trust in God that he will protect us regardless of what happens.”
Imad Moussaddak says he doesn’t describe it as fear but intimidation. “This is the first Friday and we’re still trying to process it.”
Some of the worshippers believe the violence against Muslims comes from fear of the unknown and stereotypes they would like to dispel. “People think Muslims are people who live in closets planning mischievous things and evil things. We’re just like your neighbors,” said Ajiboye.
Police will keep a watchful eye on the mosque indefinitely while the community tries to get used to a new reality.