AUSTIN, Texas—The Islamic Center of Austin is one of a handful of U.S. mosques that have been forced to close by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for “no other reason” than the group’s inclusion in a list of “terrorism” targets.
In a statement released Thursday, the Islamic Center in Austin said it was “disappointed that the U.C.L.A. campus is the first location in the United States to be shut down for this reason.”
It said the move by the DHS was in response to the “extremist ideology” of ISIS, which has been blamed for at least two U.K. attacks, including one that killed five people in March.
“We have been working tirelessly to address the radicalization of our community, and we are committed to the safety of our members and their families,” the statement read.
“While we are disappointed in the UCPOA decision, we are not satisfied with the outcome.
We are continuing to work to educate and build community for all communities, including Muslims.
We believe that the community is capable of standing united and holding its ground against the scourge of radicalization.”
The Islamic Centre’s statement followed the announcement that the group would be placed on “watch” by DHS officials in April, citing concerns over “extensive recruitment activities and social media activity.”
The move to shut down the mosque, which serves about 1,000 people, comes as tensions in the Middle East continue to rise.
Earlier this week, a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden vehicle at a mosque in the southern Iraqi city of Fallujah, killing 30 people.
The ISIS-linked Amaq News Agency claimed responsibility for the attack.