MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — With Friday’s indiscriminate and heartless violence so very raw, Minnesota’s faith leaders are speaking with a simple clarity.

“We condemn these horrific crimes in the strongest possible terms,” said Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota branch of Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Religious leaders are quick to point out that the violence that the terror group ISIS engages in has no foundation in the Islamic faith.

“Terrorism has no religion,” CAIR-MN’s deputy director Nausheena Hussain said.

On Monday, Christian, Muslim and Jewish leaders gathered as one to decry the outrageous Paris violence as an attack on the entire world.

“We know that Muslims are not represented by those who slaughter because we work with Muslims, Jews and Christians together every day,” Westminster Presbyterian associate pastor, Rev. Doug Mitchell said.

Many in the group pointed to the diverse cultures around the world which embrace religious freedoms and cherish peace. Adding that religion is all about helping feed the hungry, clothe the naked and house the homeless.

“They (ISIS) are killing people created in God’s image, so no terrorist action could possibly call itself a religious movement,” Rabbi Sim Glaser of Temple Israel in Minneapolis said.

Meantime, a report from the U.S. House Homeland Security committee reveals that 250 Americans have joined or tried to join ISIS fighters overseas. Of that number, nearly one in four is from Minnesota, home to a large Somali-American community.

“We need to step up,” director of the North American Somali Diaspora Sadik Warfa said.

Warfa says while recruitment has slowed, more work will be needed to deliver on educational and economic opportunities for immigrant populations.

“And start doing things to discourage these young men (from recruitment) and teach them that this is their country,” Warfa said. “I think we have been doing enough but I think we have to redouble our effort.”

It is a strategy of delivering a better choice to impressionable young men than that offered by the Caliphate.

Bill Hudson

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