From the June 13 edition of CNN's Legal View with Ashleigh Banfield:
CHRIS CUOMO (HOST): Ashley, you and I have stood together and separately at literally over a dozen of these occasions. And every time there is a tragedy like this, we haear questions about what is the role of Islam in what just happened with a Muslim who stepped forward and then pledged allegiance to ISIS before killing so many. Muslim leaders, once again, are coming out very strong this time against the murderer here in Orlando, saying he does not exemplify the views of Islam. I'm joined by Imam Muhammad Musri, he's of the Islamic Society of Central Florida.
We know this dynamic sickeningly well. This man comes out, he kills so many, he says I'll doing it for ISIS, and then in reaction, people become afraid and say, “there is something within Islam that is out to get us.” What is your response?
MUHAMMAD MUSRI: Well, first, I want to offer deep condolences to the families of the victims who fell here Sunday morning. And second, as to in the strongest terms condemn the terrorism that was brought on our city here. I lived most of my life in Orlando, and I know this street very well, bustling street. And to see it turned upside down, our lives are really in shatters right now. We are horrified by what happened. We are totally against acts of terrorism, and done by anyone from any religion, especially when they claim to be Muslim.
CUOMO: Why do you say “claim to be Muslim?” You don't consider this man Muslim?
MUSRI: I do not consider this man Muslim. I do not consider a terrorist who hurts people a Muslim. The people who claim to be Muslims to claim to be from the Islamic State, these are thugs, criminals. They are murderers. They have killed thousands and thousands of Muslims, both Sunni and Shia in Iraq, and Syria, and Libya, and around the world. And their murderous cult is not Islam. Islam is a worldwide religion of over 1.7 billion adherence. And for 1400 years we've never seen this kind of cultic behavior. These people are out being brainwashed, many with either mental illness or drugs, that can drive them to do things that we could never imagine somebody would do.
CUOMO: We are in a time of healing right now. We heard from the attorney general that a huge number of Muslims came out in the community to give blood to say they wanted to volunteer and help, and you are saying you want the community to do more going forward to show the solidarity among all different faiths. How so?
MUSRI: We issued a request to our community. Here we have about 100,000 Muslims in central Florida with hundreds of Muslim doctors. We know the need for blood, the local blood bank said yesterday they were short. So we said Muslims should be the first to go out and donate blood to save lives and also to donate money to the families of the victims to rebuild their lives, and to go out and volunteer in the community to see how we can bring unity in the community. This morning, I was on a call with 30 religious leaders. We are doing a vigil this evening in downtown Orlando and we are inviting the community to come out, show their sympathy and support, especially of the LGBT community.
We are doing something bigger for next month. On July 23rd, we are doing a big March in Washington, D.C. to denounce terrorism as loud as we can. So the American people will hear it from Muslim leaders like myself all over the country coming out very strong to condemn terrorism, to condemn Al Qaeda and ISIS, Boko Haram and all of these terrorists.