Muslim community and officials in Cumberland Co. gather to discuss religion

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SILVER SPRING TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- If you don't know the answer, just ask.

Thats what one Muslim community in Cumberland County is telling township officials.

Monday night Silver Spring Township officials and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community held a meet and greet to discuss Islam.

Silver Spring Township Police Chief Chris Raubenstine said, "It's really just to let more people realize we're all the same and let's just get along with each other."

He and Farida Ahmad, with Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, decided to have this meeting where officials were welcome to ask questions about the religion.

Raubenstine said, "We're trying to get down that fear of not knowing or being afraid or hesitant to ask those questions."

Ahmad stressed that many Muslims are not violent people.

She said, "We don't want any other Americans to be harmed. We are part of this country. And when you hurt I hurt."

She has lived in the area for more than 30 years.

"We want to make sure that they understand who we are," Ahmad said.

She said lately she has felt a change in attitude nationwide toward the Muslim community.

"We want to be able to practice our religion freely just like any other American and we are loyal to this country, and we contribute to this country and we are part of the fabric of America," Ahmad said.

Raubenstine hopes the meet and greet is a step in the right direction for the community to unite.

He said, "It's the start. And we have to start somewhere. So why not here?"
The police chief said they are planning to have another meeting like this one in the near future, just involving the entire community.

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