SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (FOX 11) - The backlash toward Muslim Americans after Wednesday's mass shooting in San Bernardino has been strong.
The mass shooting suspects identified themselves as Muslim, but mosque leaders in San Bernardino County say the suspects couldn't be further from it.
In a response, on Wednesday, leaders from the Baitul Hameed Mosque in Chino set up a prayer vigil with over a hundred people and press conference to condemn the massacre.
"The Holy Quran teaches us that the killing of an innocent life is like the destruction of all of mankind. Humanity was destroyed far too many times yesterday," said Dr. Ahsan Khan, the President of the Los Angeles East Chapter of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
Fearing Islamophobia, leaders urged the community to see the real face of Islam.
"56% of Americans have a disfavorable view of Islam. But most of them have never even met a Muslim," said Amjad Mahmood Khan, the National Director of Public Affairs for Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
Leaders say they plan on reaching out to victim's families and holding a blood drive December 13th at the mosque, in hopes of sending blood to victims fighting for their lives.
"We're Muslims who give blood. We don't shed blood," said Dr. Khan.
Mahmood Khan says the Muslim community currently has an outreach program for troubled Muslim youth, even those in prison. They plan to expand the programs after Wednesday's attack.
"We will not allow these individuals, these Muslim millennials who perhaps may be radicalized to defame or hijack our faith," said Mahmood Khan.