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Muslim leaders calling for increased police patrols in Conn. after Meriden mosque shooting

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HARTFORD -- A call to prayer echoed at mosques across the world on Friday.

In Connecticut, Muslim leaders called for help from police "to deter any other acts of violence on our community," said Mongi Dhaoudi said at a news conference at the state Capital.

Dhaoudi, the executive director of the Connecticut Chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, spoke with other representatives from the Islamic community about a need for local police to increase patrols at houses of worship across Connecticut. The request comes after a shooting at Baitul Aman mosque in Meriden last weekend.

"It was very obvious so far from the investigation that is conducted by the FBI and local law enforcement that the person who attacked that mosque attacked it with a vicious force," said Dhaouadi.

No one was hurt, but the building sustained several bullet holes.

At Friday services, Hamid Malik, the regional imam, did not want to take any chances. He had his security amped up five-fold at the congregation's first full gathering since the shooting and the terror attacks in Paris.

Read more about the Paris terror attacks here.

Aloud and silently, they sent up wishes for peace and justice. Malik said they are not focused on the violence.

"The love and support that we’ve gotten from everyone -- it’s so overshadowing that we’ve even forgotten about the bullets to be honest," he said.

Sources tell FOX 61 that law enforcement have a person of interest in the shooting. The investigation is on-going.

In the meantime, in addition to their security request, Muslim leaders ask their Connecticut neighbors to reject rumors that are spread about their religion.

"These terrorist groups do not represent our faith, do not represent our community," said Dhaouadi of ISIS.

Dr. Mohammed Elsamra from the Connecticut Chapter of the Muslim American Society added, "We will be the first line of defense against any violent acts that happen here in America."

"As Muslims we pray that we stay the land of the brave and of course, the land of the free," said Imam Kashif Abdul-Karim of the Muhammad Islamic Center of Greater Hartford.

Malik said he and others from the Baitul Aman mosque would like to encourage the public to come to services on Saturday starting around 2 p.m.

"By meeting a Muslim, by getting together with a Muslim, all Americans would realize how American we are," said Malik.

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