The leader of a large local community of Muslims said today his followers are loyal American citizens and urged against any anti-Muslim backlash as the Persian Gulf war intensifies.
However, Ronald Shakir, imam of the Masjid Walter Omar at 4905 Liberty Heights Ave., added, "We don't advocate aggression, but if our children or anyone in our community is attacked, we would fight back with whatever means we could find. War begins when diplomacy ends."
Shakir, at a news conference this morning at the mosque, said he knows of no incidents of harassment against local Muslims. Other local Muslim leaders say they have not heard of such incidents.