When news broke late Monday night that a Pakistani-born U.S. citizen had been arrested for the failed Times Square bombing, many South Florida Muslims became worried about a backlash against their community.
Zakkout expressed his concerns on MSNBC Tuesday afternoon, and minutes later, his e-mail inbox was already filled with hateful messages.
"You really don't think anyone in this country, outside of the one term only Obama administration falls for that "religion of peace" crap...do you," read one.
"There is nothing more anti-American than Islam. Don't you know that a LOT of people despise everything related to you?" read another. "Your life in America will become HELL. Just mark my words."
The reaction was not unexpected, especially for worshipers at the Islamic Center of South Florida in Pompano Beach Tuesday night.
"Somebody trying to do an evil act like that, it comes back to the Muslims," said Khalid Ouanaim. "This person does not represent Islam whatsoever."
They emphatically say that Islam is a peaceful religion and that the Koran is often taken out of context.
"The Koran said Jihad fights, but there is reason to fight against the people who take you out from your land," said Zakkout. "He didn't say fight, just go kill Christians."
Practicing Muslims like Ouanaim said it's a matter of understanding other religions and cultures.
"We need to be open to each other and get to know each other," he said.