The Canton Police Department teamed up with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community on Friday to hold a blood drive in memory of the victims of 9/11.
Canton Police Chief Kenneth Berkowitz was one of the first in line at the library to give blood and said the purpose of the event isn't just to save lives and remember the victims but it is also to spread peace with Muslims and members of the Islam religion.
“It has been constructive to work with another group (Muslim Community) that was deeply affected on 9/11,” Berkowitz said. “It gives us a chance to learn more about them and for them to learn more about us. It is a great cause and a great way to remember 9/11.”
Berkowitz said the terrorist attacks could have been committed by a member of any race or religion and said people should not target all Muslims as terrorists.
“Theres no set profile for a terrorist,” Berkowitz said.
This was the first year the Canton Police have hosted the "Muslims for Life" blood drive, which has been organized by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community across its 76 chapters over the last three years.
Masroor A. Sajid, an organizer of the Canton blood drive and member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community reached out to the Canton Police at a recent interfaith meeting.
Sajid said the goal is to inform the world that the perpetrators of the horrific attacks of 9/11 and on Marathon Monday do not represent Islam or Muslims, and Islam stands for peace and values all human life.
“We are defending Islam,” Sajid said. “We are saying that whatever the mainstream Muslims are doing these days, has nothing to do with Islam. That is our message.”
In the last two years, the “Muslims for Life” Blood Drive has collected 23,500 units of blood to help save more than 70,000 lives.
They will also hold upcoming Red Cross Blood Drives at Fenway Park and Faneuil Hall on Wednesday, September 11.
Anyone who wishes to give blood on Friday in Canton should arrive before 4 p.m. at the Canton Library.