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Milwaukee Muslims Decry Extremist Attacks in Paris

Dan Kitwood Getty Images

Local Muslims are condemning the attacks at a satirical magazine and a kosher deli in Paris last week.

They killed more than a dozen people. The magazine, Charlie Hebdo, published a range of religious cartoons, including controversial drawings depicting the Prophet Muhammad. Authorities confirmed the gunmen had links to the militant group Al Qaeda.

Othman Atta, executive director of the Islamic Society of Milwaukee, says the Paris terrorists attacks were on the minds of many at the Islamic Society’s worship service last Friday.

“These are despicable acts of extremists and Muslims know that these extremists do not represent them or their religion, that these are acts of criminals, terrorists, however you want to define them,” he says.

Atta says for years, Muslims have been working to combat stereotypes that extremists have fueled. For instance, the Islamic Society takes part in interfaith activities throughout southeast Wisconsin, including for children.

“We do obviously everything we can because I think that this part of the education of the children from all different faith backgrounds, and we feel that that’s a very important part of what we do as an organization,” he says.

This month, the Islamic Society of Milwaukee plans to launch a series of programs to educate the community on the teachings of Islam. The series will also help people recognize the warning signs of friends or loved ones who might be at risk of radicalism.