Islamic School principal in fear over latest mass shooting

WEST WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Reaction to the horrific shooting in San Bernardino, California is pouring in from all over the world – including from a local school that was the subject of an anti-Muslim hate crime earlier this year.

While the nation mourns the loss of the 14 victims of Wednesday’s mass shooting, the FBI is investigating the attack as an act of terrorism. The bureau announced Friday that certain evidence has led them to believe the shooters, a husband and his wife, may have had extremist ideologies.

That, combined with the fact that the suspects were Muslim, leaves the principal of the Islamic Schoool of Rhode Island in fear.

“I’m getting ready to defend myself. I’m getting ready to defend my community,” Adbelnesser Hussein told Eyewitness News. “I’m afraid of the backlash that may happen after that. This really hurts me a lot.”

Hussein said that since the shootings, he has met with his faculty and 160 students – while checking and securing all school doors, gates, entrances and security systems.

The shootings in California come just 10 months after the West Warwick school was vandalized during what the FBI determined was a hate crime.

Orange spray paint vandalism mars windows of the Islamic School of West Warwick. (WPRI-TV)
Orange spray paint vandalism mars windows of the Islamic School of West Warwick. (WPRI-TV)

Surveillance video of the crime was released earlier this year, but so far no arrests have been made.

A mosque in North Smithfield was also vandalized in August of 2012 – during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Hussein said his religion gets a bad reputation because of extremists who do not practice Muslim ways. According to the principal, the idea of extremism has jeopardized his own family’s safety – a way of life he said he is constantly dealing with.

“It’s a tragedy to think that before I feel sympathy, with the people we lose from our country, I’m thinking about who did it,” he said.

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