The CAIR-LA press conference was broadcast on CNN. Speakers included Ken Inouye from JACL’s Pacific Southwest District (third from left).
The CAIR-LA press conference was broadcast on CNN. Speakers included Ken Inouye from JACL’s Pacific Southwest District (third from left).

ANAHEIM — The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) and the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California held a news conference Wednesday night with leaders of the Muslim community and interfaith representatives to condemn the deadly shooting spree in San Bernardino and to offer condolences to the loved ones of those killed or injured.

“We unequivocally condemn the horrific act that happened today and we stand in solidarity with fellow Americans and we offer our heartfelt prayers and condolences to the injured, to the families of those who have been killed,” said CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush. “We stand in solidarity in repudiating any possible ideology or mindset that could have led to such a horrific act. There is absolutely nothing that could justify [it]. We stand in mourning and sadness for what happened, and we pray for the quick recovery for those who were injured.”

The brother-in-law of the alleged male shooter attended the press conference to express his shock on behalf of the family and condolences to the victims.

Ayloush also remarked that a motive for the shooting is yet to be determined, “We don’t know the motive yet. This could be workplace rage, it could be the result of some mental instability, or it could be some twisted ideological belief.”

CAIR-LA has begun receiving reports of hate incidents against Muslims in the Southern California area. In light of these reports, the organization is advising the American Muslim community to take all threats seriously and ensure that local law enforcement is contacted in a timely manner to investigate and address them.

Asian American community leaders have also expressed concerns about anti-Muslim backlash. Ken Inouye of JACL’s Pacific Southwest District was one of the speakers at the press conference.

Stewart Kwoh, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles, said in a statement, “We grieve yet again for the victims of a mass shooting, this time so close to home. But we also stand vigilant against any backlash against Muslim and South Asian members of our community that may follow the identification of the suspects in yesterday’s shooting.

“We urge community members to report suspected hate crimes and we ask law enforcement to stand with us to denounce any such attacks against members of our community.”

Some Asian American members of Congress responded to the incident with calls for gun control.

“I join my community in shock and in sadness that such a terrible tragedy has occurred so close to home,” said Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside). “My heart is with the victims and their families. I am grateful for the first responders who acted so bravely to prevent an even greater loss of life.

“These tragedies are not the cost of freedom, they are the cost of blocking basic steps to address our gun violence epidemic. I will work with local law enforcement, leaders in our community, and my colleagues in Congress to implement common sense solutions that do not impede on the rights of lawful gun owners.

“We have a long and sad tradition in this country of responding to gun violence with our condolences and little else. This time must be different.”

“I’m horrified by yesterday’s shooting in San Bernardino and even more horrified by the inaction in Congress,” said Rep. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena). “Today, I spoke with Al Jazeera America about what we can do to live up to our commitment to keep our constituents safe.”

“During the season in which Americans gather to spend time with loved ones, I am dismayed to hear about yet another mass shooting in San Bernardino … I will not stop my fight in Congress to pass responsible, common-sense gun control legislation to protect the American people from these acts of terror,” said Rep. Mike Honda (D-Santa Clara).

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