Local reaction to New Zealand attack 'heartening' to UW professor

VIDEO: Increased security, support following mosque attacks

Local police departments increased patrols at mosques in the wake of the New Zealand terrorist attack.

This as residents across the Puget Sound offered visible support to the Muslim community.

The evidence of that support is still evident in the messages and flowers left behind.

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"I mean I was shocked," said Dr. Karam Dana.  "But unfortunately not surprised because these kinds of things have been long coming unfortunately."

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Dr. Dana runs the American Muslim Research Institute at the University of Washington-Bothell. He says the hours since the massacre of Muslims thousands of miles away has touched many here.

"I received a number of phone calls and texts making sure how am I doing?" he said. "What are my thoughts on this?"

Indeed, there was an outpouring across the Puget Sound. This is the scene outside the Idriss Mosque near Northgate, along with an increased Seattle police presence, too.

"That sort of solidarity is necessary to show that you care about your neighbor, that you care about your doctor, you care about the engineer the lives down the road," said Dr. Dana. "These are necessary messages to the American Muslim community to also feel safe effectively from what happened today."

He applauds Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand's prime minister, for labeling what happened there a terrorist attack and disavowing the hatred it represents.

After the attack, Ardern declared, "Clearly what has happened here is an extraordinary an unprecedented act of violence."

"These are the sorts of values political leaders around the world have to adopt and implement," said Dr. Dana. "And they should reach out to their Muslim communities and tell them that they are as integrated into their societies as everybody else."

In fact, he says Muslims have been a part of American society since at least the 1600s. Twenty-five percent to 30 percent of slaves brought here from Africa, he says, were Muslims.

And they never left.