Effects of Wednesday’s tragedy felt across state

The effects of Wednesday’s shooting that left 14 people dead and 21 wounded at the Inland Regional Center (IRC) in San Bernardino, a city about an hour east of Los Angeles, were felt far and wide across California.

Fresno-based Central Valley Regional Center (CVRC) is a private, state-funded nonprofit corporation that shares the same mission of the IRC by providing services to people with developmental disabilities in the Central Valley.

It closed its doors to the public on Wednesday in response to the shooting as a precaution.

The CVRC reopened its doors on Thursday with regular hours and released a statement on Facebook that said: “CVRC appreciates all of your well wishes today on behalf of our staff, providers and the individuals and families we serve. We also appreciate your well wishes and prayers for the community of San Bernardino, the victims and their families, and the staff, clients, families and providers of [the IRC.]”
“We stand in solidarity against this senseless act and continue to provide what support and compassion we can.”

The Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno (ICCF) condemned the shooting on Facebook and called it an act of violence and terror.

“It horrifies and disgusts us when violence is carried out in the name of our religion. A religion that clearly sanctifies life and boldly commands its followers to act in peace, love, and justice with everyone.

As our nation is once again the victim of a tragic attack, we mourn many deaths and we pray for the families, friends, and communities of the victims of every senseless act of violence.”

The ICCF said that the world must come together against extremism in all of its forms, but to also actively combat it.

The center announced that they will remember and pray for the victims, families, friends and the entire community affected by the tragedy during its weekly prayer service on Friday at 1 p.m. at 2111 E Nees Ave. in northeast Fresno.

When Mahmoud Tarifi learned the name of a suspect in Wednesday’s shooting, his heart sank. He said he knew the man may have been Muslim.

Tarifi, a leader at the Islamic Center of Claremont, California, was not alone.

After officials announced that a man named Syed Farook was a suspect, members of the faith’s community shared their sense of grief and concern.

Tarifi said American Muslims are accustomed to being targeted and scapegoated whenever violent Islamic extremists commit attacks.

“Every Muslim worries about being victimized,” he said. “It’s how we felt after 9/11 and after the Paris attacks.”

Aslam Abdullah, a Muslim scholar based in San Bernardino, felt a familiar pang in his stomach upon hearing the news.

“It depresses us more than anyone … when someone who identifies with our faith is the suspect,” he said.

Abdullah said the shooting marked “a crucial moment” for the Muslim community, one that would allow them to show that they are just as disgusted with the violence as anyone else.

“Now Islam and Muslims are on trial again,” he said. “The Muslim community does not approve of terror. To associate it with all Muslims would be absurd.”

Late Wednesday night, the Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) and the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California held a news conference with leaders of the Muslim community to condemn the incident and extend sympathies to victims.

“We condemn this horrific and revolting attack and offer our heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of all those killed or injured,” CAIR-LA executive director Hussam Ayloush said in a statement.

“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.”

Farhan Khan, who said he was a brother-in-law of suspect Syed Farook, also spoke at the event.

“The reason I am here is to express [for] my family … how sad they are for what happened,” said Khan. “I’m very sad people lost their lives and there are victims out there.”

Asked whether Farook was religious, Khan declined to comment.

Tarifi said the public should not jump to conclusions based solely on Farook’s name or faith.

“His name is Syed Farook, but that doesn’t mean he’s necessarily a terrorist,” Tarifi said.

Gov. Jerry Brown ordered the flags at the state capitol in Sacramento to half-staff and said that “our thoughts and prayers are with the victims’ families and everyone affected by the brutal attack.”

President Barack Obama offered condolences to people affected by the shooting in San Bernardino and ordered flags to be lowered across the country.

Fresno State president Dr. Joseph Castro followed suit and flags across campus were lowered to half-staff at noon on Tuesday and will remain lowered until Dec. 7.

Los Angeles Times writers Sarah Parvini, Kate Linthicum and Taylor Goldenstein contributed to this story