As details are revealed about the two alleged shooters at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California, on Wednesday, Asian-American and Muslim-American leaders are offering condolences to those affected by the shootings, while also warning the public about stereotyping and backlash.
Wednesday's shooting, which left more than a dozen dead, is one of more than 300 mass shootings that have taken place in the United States in 2015. The alleged attackers, Syed Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27, died Wednesday as police chased a vehicle believed to be related to the incident.
“We condemn this horrific and revolting attack and offer our heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of all those killed or injured,” Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Council of American Islamic Relations in Los Angeles (CAIR-LA) said at a press conference held with Islamic Shura Council of Southern California. “The Muslim community stands shoulder to shoulder with our fellow Americans in repudiating any twisted mindset that would claim to justify such sickening acts of violence.”
In a statement to NBC News on Thursday, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Los Angeles (AAAJ-LA) urged media to be cautious in its reporting in order to avoid stereotypes or profiling of individuals or communities based on race, religion, or immigration status.
"We grieve yet again for the victims of a mass shooting, this time so close to home," said Stewart Kwoh, president and executive director of AAAJ-LA. "But we also stand vigilant against any backlash against Muslim and South Asian members of our community that may follow the identification of the suspects in yesterday's shooting. We urge community members to report suspected hate crimes and we ask law enforcement to stand with us to denounce any such attacks against members of our community."
Asian-American leaders also expressed concern about the dangers of backlash against the community:
Asian-American and Muslim-American elected officials also spoke out on Twitter about the necessity of addressing gun violence.
On Thursday, the words "Muslim Killers" began trending on Twitter. Those words also appeared Thursday on the cover of the New York Post.
In response, Asian-American and Muslim-Americans spoke out on Twitter against the stereotyping of an entire community based on the actions of a few.
According to the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security, a small percentage of mass shootings and political violence since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks have been committed by Muslim Americans.