Groups hope others don't view them differently - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Southeast international students hope others don't view them differently


Quazi Nafis went to Southeast Missouri State and prayed at the Islamic Center of Cape Girardeau.

Some people said they hope others know that's where the similarities stop.

Musa Wadi goes to the Islamic Center of Cape Girardeau. He prayed alongside Nafis, and said he was quiet and polite.

"I don't know him that good, but we were shocked," said Wadi.

Now, he said he feels betrayed by Nafis, since his actions are not in line with the teachings of Islam.

"This is against the essence of Islam, the Quran says, the message of Islam that we have send you as a mercy for mankind, killing people is not any kind of mercy," said Wadi.

He said he wishes Nafis would have set a better example.

"It make me sometimes sad because this man could have given a better example for Muslims if he came here to study what he was intended to study, and represent the real Islam, not the terrorism which we don't need," said Wadi.

A few Southeast Missouri State international students said they don't want others to treat them differently after learning Nafis was also an international student.

Irene Ayieko is an international student from Kenya, and has lives in Cape Girardeau for 9 years. She volunteers to help other international students find their way around campus and town. She said the international students don't usually talk about religion, but instead about academics and where they're from.

"I want to say I know there are students here who are serious who have come to go to school to better their lives, and just because we have one person who is working towards al-Qaeda group, it doesn't mean that all the students who are here," said Ayieko. "When something like that happens it makes students be like oh get scared even to talk to people who look different, so I would just encourage the American students on campus to know we are here to go to school."

She said the American people have been hospitable to her, and many of them are her friends. She said she just hopes people in the Heartland will continue their positive view of the international students.

"Having lived in Cape Girardeau for the past 9 years, I want to appeal to the American people, especially here in Cape Girardeau, we understand how this could cause a backlash for people thinking people coming to SEMO is International students they mean to do harm to the U.S. people, yes there are many students that come from those countries who know me we converse on Facebook, and on text messages, and they are all wondering what are people going to think about us," said Ayieko.

There are 720,000 international students attending college in the U.S. 15,000 of those students are in the State of Missouri, and 800 are enrolled at Southeast Missouri State.

"My concerns is because of our international students have increased on campus and when something like that happens you always fear for a backlash, for what people are going to think, so I thought it was good for our students to talk to the American people, especially here in Cape Girardeau to know that would be one person, of the many and there are students here who have come for the purpose of going to school and better their lives," said Ayieko.

Both people said they're more than happy to answer questions about their religion or country for people who are curious.

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