Prayers under increased security at Sparks mosque

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SPARKS, Nev., (KOLO) Friday afternoon typically brings more than 200 of the faithful to the Northern Nevada Muslim Community Center in Sparks.

The gathering was taking place in the shadow of the news from New Zealand about a massacre, and it was on everyone's mind.

"No one should endure such a thing during in a place of worship," said the Center's president Dr. Sherif Elfass."This should be the safest place when trying to communicate with God."

There was sadness, but also concern. Outside the mosque, Sparks Police and private security officers were a visible presence.

For years the mosque's officials never felt the need. That changed, Dr. Elfass said, a few months ago with the attack on the Jewish Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

"Since the Pittsburgh shooting we've been having two officers, but today we're increasing that."

To be clear, Dr. Elfass says there have been no specific threats against Muslims in northern Nevada.

"But also I don't think the mosque in Christchurch received any threats either. That's the scary part. They didn't receive any threats, but it happened to them."

Dr. Elfass says his community has received an outpouring of support from the local community and law enforcement, but he remains disappointed in the President, whose response Friday failed to mention Muslims, terrorists or white supremacists.

"He has to show that he would support this. Words do matter and they have consequences."