On Friday evening, members of the Howard County Muslim Council attended a vigil against gun violence in response to Wednesday's mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif.
They joined Muslim organizations from around the state, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Islamic Society of Annapolis and the Muslim Community Center in Silver Spring, which hosted the event, to light candles and recognize each of the 14 victims peopled killed in the shooting and to call for stricter gun control laws.
"Enough is enough," Shahan Rizvi, the council's president, said in his speech at the gathering. "Gun control can no longer be a politicized issue. We need reform and we need to act now. We need a comprehensive plan that accounts for greater background checks that aren't limited to just criminal histories, but mental health as well. Is it to much to ask to have longer waiting periods and a licensing and training system in place? We as Muslims need to lead this conversation and demand that our government institute better gun control mechanisms to safeguard our humanity."
On Wednesday, Syed Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, opened fire on Farook's co-workers at the Inland Regional Center, killing 14 and injuring 21 at the social services center in in San Bernardino. The suspects were killed in a gunfight with police a few hours later.
The FBI is investigating the shooting as an act of terrorism.
Rizvi joined Muslim leaders in condemning the shooting and distancing it from Islam; Farook was reportedly a devout Muslim and followers of Islam around the country fear a spike in anti-Islamic rhetoric, much like what has occurred in the weeks since the Paris attacks.
"While initial media reports indicate radicalism may be involved in the San Bernardino shootings," Rizvi said in a press release, "HCMC will reiterate time and time again that Islam is a religion of peace and will never condone the killing of innocent people, ever. It is sadistic individuals that attach their own agendas under the disguise of religion."