Muslims prayed with heavy hearts at a mosque in Pembroke Pines Monday, hours after an attack near a London mosque left one person dead.
Shaikh Shafayat Mohamed, leader of the Darul Uloom Institute, said his members always have a fear in the back of their minds that the kind of hate crime that played out in London could happen in South Florida. Witnesses said during the London attack the suspect screamed that he wanted to kill Muslims.
"I'm very vigilant and I'm careful where I go, when I go and always have people around, you have to do what you have to do," he said. "Now you have the backlash, so this has happened and with this present situation in London yesterday, that adds fuel to the fire."
The Shaikh says that kind of violence and threats is why many mosques have limited hours, as opposed to being open 24 hours a day. He also said they have more security that ever before.
"Especially with London, they have been beefing up security with more surveillance cameras, people in the parking lot, some have undercover cops being paid to keep an eye on Islamic institutions," Mohamed said. "We used to be 24 hours open once upon a time, but with all these things happening we have to as they say, tie your camel and do whatever is necessary for security."
The mosque is expecting thousands of people Wednesday to celebrate the end of Ramadan, the holiest month of the year for Muslims.
Mohamed said he will use the attack in London to remind members how to respond to such violence.
"ISIS and Al-Qaeda and these radicals will continue to do their harm, they have their own agenda, you will always have this backlash so we need to be more educated, we have to not have hate against them, be more kind and loving with other people, reply hate with love," he said.