SoCal Muslim Leaders Call for De-Escalation of Tensions With Iran

Local Muslim leaders say war will harm innocent people and devastate economies.

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Leaders in Southern California’s Muslim community had some sharp criticism Wednesday for President Donald Trump.

They held a press conference in which they said his administration has shut Muslims out of the conversation and they want to help bring about peace with Iran.

"We are in a difficult time right now, and we want peace; we don’t want war," said Hajj Khalil Dewji of the Shia Muslim Council.

The leaders called for a de-escalation of tension with Iran, saying war will harm innocent people and devastate economies.

"It will bring more hatred and more division in the world. It will create more animosity toward Americans when they’re traveling abroad," said Dr. Ahmad Soboh with the Islamic Shura Council.

NBCLA spoke with Iranian-Americans who celebrate the death of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. But Wednesday, Salam Al-Marayati, the head of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, criticized the U.S. strike that killed the general.

"If a person is committing war crimes, then we should get the international criminal court to intervene and take him to the world court," he said. "But no, we decided to engage in a political assassination of a military and policital leader of a sovereign country."

Muslim leaders met in Washington, D.C. with customs officials and the Department of Homeland Security to demand an investigation into Iranian-Americans being detained and questioned at the border this week.

"We are tired of having our civil liberties suspended for the false sense of security,” Al-Marayati said.

Major airlines are cancelling some flights to the Mideast following an Iranian missile strike on U.S.-led forces in Iraq, and the Federal Aviation Administration barred U.S. carriers from flying over parts of the Gulf.

"We have to deal with these personal inconveniences that we can't travel to visit family,” Al-Marayati said.

The Muslim leaders say the Trump administration has refused to consult with Muslims, leading to ignorance about Islam and the Middle East.

"With this administration the doors have been shut. I don't know if it's the John Boltons or Stephen Millers that are running the show over there. If they are, we are in deep trouble,” Al-Marayati said.

These Muslim leaders say they support a bill sponsored by Democrats that would prohibit funding for a military strike against Iran without congressional approval.

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