Central Texas Muslims ask community to get to know them

Following the bombing attack in New York City, Texas Senator Ted Cruz suggested the refugee program be put to an end. He said refugees are often disguised and that Muslims tend to be radicalized.

He also said he believes people should refer to the terrorists as "radical Islamic terrorists." Both statements have created controversy and made Muslims fear backlash.

"First thing is, I'm just as shocked as anyone would be at this type of crime, which is horrendous," said Qamar Zafar, a leader at a Round Rock mosque.

Despite most Americans having a similar sentiment, Zafar said some compare all Muslims to terrorists.

"My religion, Islam, is as far away from violence and terrorism as can be," said Zafar. "There is a fear of the unknown that comes out of the lack of understanding. So the answer to that is get to know someone."

Zafar said his mosque, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community / Baitul Muqeet Mosque, is open to everyone. He said members are always willing to talk and educate people who are interested in learning.

"We try to do community outreach as much as we can," said Zafar.

He said Muslims believe in giving and in service. Yet he believes the Muslim community could do more to show that.

"I need to do my part to counter some of these negatives that people may be perceiving," said Zafar.

The Round Rock mosque is not adding any additional security, but is reminding the congregation to stay extra vigilant. In November, following the Paris attacks, a Pflugerville mosque was vandalized.

Story By: Sarah Navoy