Houston religious, community leaders address Orlando nightclub shooting

HOUSTON – The religious garb might have looked different. Their beliefs might not all align. But spiritual leaders from across Houston came together Monday morning at the Montrose Center to condemn the Orlando attack.

A coalition of interfaith organizations and community leaders held a news conference on the Orlando, Florida, nightclub shooting that left 50 dead and more than 50 injured.

M.J. Khan, president of the Islamic Center of Greater Houston, said, "On behalf of the Islamic Center of Greater Houston, I hereby and unequivocally condemn the brutish killings and injury of innocent persons in Orlando nightclub."

Deacon Sam Dunning of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston said, "We are united in one fundamental fact and belief. That we are all created in the image and likeness of God."

Montrose sits about 850 miles from the Pulse Club in Orlando. But the hurt, loss and emptiness were felt right here in central Houston.

Dr. Ann Robison, director of the Montrose Center, said, "The LGBT and faith community can set an example of how to talk to one another and share across cultural differences and denounce Islamophobia talk and communication. That is the only way that we are going to be able to prevent future violence."

The pain reached across places of worship and communities. The leaders called the Orlando carnage an act of terror against our country and an act of hatred against the gay community.

“We condemn this attack and offer our deepest condolences to the victims and their families,” Mustafaa Carroll, with the Houston chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said in a press release. “We repudiate anyone or any organization that claims to justify such an appalling act of violence.”