Muslim residents of Japan on Sunday expressed their deep sorrow for the murder of journalist Kenji Goto and said they were angry about the Islamic State group’s barbaric actions.
“We are very, very sorry about this bad news and I am telling the Japanese people that we are very, very sorry,” said Mohamad H. Loghmani, a 44-year-old Iranian resident of Tokyo.
He said the Islamic State group has non-Islamic aims: a hunger for money, power and blood. He said he does not consider its fighters to be Muslims.
“I am telling the Japanese people that Muslim people in the world . . . like Japanese people because they are kind and friendly people,” he said. Loghmani was speaking at a charity bazaar at the Iranian ambassador’s residence in Tokyo on Sunday to raise funds for victims of natural disasters in Iran.
Another visitor to the bazaar was Iranian Nader Mansouri, 52. He, too, was disgusted by the actions of the Islamic State extremists.
“I don’t recognize them as Muslims; I don’t even recognize them as humans,” Mansouri said.
He said he despises the way the extremists threaten others and suggested that if they are so sure of themselves they should ditch their masks and anonymity.
The Islamic State group released a video on the Internet Sunday of Goto’s apparent execution that appeared to show his headless body.
After spending decades covering the Middle East, Goto was captured in Syria while trying to negotiate the release of his friend and fellow hostage Haruna Yukawa.
Japanese Muslim Shigeru Shimoyama, 65, said by phone that he had been praying for Goto’s release every day with fellow Muslims.
“This is truly unfortunate,” Shimoyama said.
He said Goto’s reporting had focused on critical social issues, such as poverty and civil strife, in the places like the Middle East and Africa. He said people worldwide must think seriously about solving such problems in order to pass on what Goto was trying to convey.
He also said people need to develop a greater appreciation of different cultures so such a tragedy will not be repeated.
“There are prejudices and misunderstandings about the Muslim religion. Those things could lead to the next crisis.”
Originally published on www.japantimes.com