The news of four Inland Empire men who converted to Islam and later arrested for allegedly conspiring to perform terrorist acts has a local Imam worried it is giving a bad name to Islam and Muslims as a whole.

"When you live in this country and call yourself a citizen of this country, then according to the Islamic teachings you should be loyal to the country and not destroy that country," said Imam Shamshad Nasir, of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community's Baitul Hameed Mosque in Chino.

"Loyalty is part of my faith, so I do not understand what kind of Muslim they are calling themselves - I don't think this is Islam."

Federal officials arrested on Friday four men on suspicion of conspiring to provide material support to terrorists. Three men were arrested in the Inland Empire, the fourth was taken into custody by federal officials overseas.

According to a criminal complaint filed by the FBI, the four men were conspiring to kidnap or injure persons, kill officers and employees of the United States, use a weapon of mass destruction outside of the United States, bomb places of public, among other alleged acts.

The suspects are Ralph Deleon, 23, of Ontario; Arifeen David Gojali, 21, of Riverside; Sohiel Omar Kabir, 34, an Afghanistan native and former resident of Pomona and Miguel Alejandro Santana Vidriales 21, of Upland.

While Nasir is concerned about the negative view of Muslims, a representative for the nation's largest Islamic American relations group said he didn't believe the arrests would significantly impact the public perception of Muslim Americans.


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" it is important to keep in mind, that incidents of terrorism are rare, and thankfully this is not something that American Muslims have to deal with," said Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, of Southern California.

"The point I'm making is that American Muslim communities, survey after survey after survey have shown repeatedly that American Muslims reject extremism. American Muslims oppose terrorism and are very comfortable with their American patriotism. There is no debate where they stand when it comes to the safety of our country," Ayloush said.

Ayloush characterized the threat of radicalization of American Muslims as minimal.

"The best way to prevent self-marginalization and disenfranchisement is to promote a culture of engagement within a community, especially within the most vulnerable, younger people in such communities and that empowers people and makes them part of a positive change with their society and community," Ayloush said.

The Ahmadiyya sect believes their founder - the 19th-century Indian-born Muslim cleric Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad - to be the messiah mentioned in the Quran. Because the belief differs from those held by other Islamic groups, its members in other parts of the world have been persecuted by some Orthodox Muslims.

"This news is disturbing and I am concerned for each and every citizen in this country wether it is happening in my neighborhood or it happened anywhere else," Nasir said.