KENNER, LA (WVUE) - Religious leaders of all faiths came together Monday in Metairie to support the Islamic community.
"We wanted to make a statement on behalf of our Muslim brothers and sisters," Rev. Ronald Unger said. "Well, there's so much hate going on in the country these days, and we thought a real need to address that."
They delivered a message to the entire community to treat everyone as equal.
"As people of faith, we differ from one another, but we also respect one another," Rabbi Robert Loewy said.
"Groups like ISIS and those who dance to their own tune are determined to manipulate and exploit the true teaching of Islam," Imam Abdul Rahman Bashir said.
Bashir, with the Jefferson Muslim Association, wanted to make it clear that any acts of terrorism are not connected or linked to the true followers of Islam.
"It is very appalling that people would do something like this and use the religion to fulfill their own personal agenda or to spread fear and hatred," he said.
He said members of the local mosque are being discriminated against after the terror attacks in Paris and California.
"There have been acts of bullying that have been reported. The women in our community are being intimidated verbally and some physically," Bashir said.
"All of us have been repulsed and concerned about the level of rhetoric in our country, from a variety of politics to all sorts of people simply labeling and stereotyping the men and women of the Islamic faith," Loewy said.
The Islamic community is nearly 10,000 strong in the metro area, and the gathering of faiths to offer support clearly hits home.