Va. mosque holds blood drive in honor of Paris victims

- A Virginia mosque is taking action in the hopes of countering the images of violent extremism created by ISIS. Muslims at the Chantilly mosque said they want to do more than just pray for peace -- they want to help contribute to it.

They came together this weekend with the goal of saving more lives than terrorists are taking in the name of their religion.

They are part of a national movement which organizes blood drives at mosques around the country to reinforce what they say are Islam’s true teachings of peace and the sanctity of life.

We visited members of the Mubarak Mosque on Monday as they took part in midday prayers, one of the five formal prayers they do daily.

They said true Muslims believe in peace and that human life is sacred. They argue terrorists have hijacked their faith and painted a violent militant picture of their religion that does not accurately represent Islam.

On Sunday, they held a blood drive at the mosque in honor of the victims of the Paris attacks. This was in conjunction with a group called Muslims for Life, which has held more than 1,000 blood drives at mosques around the country since 2011.

"We wanted to bring them together to commemorate the loss through action and in a way respond with action to the terrorists -- that however many lives they will try to take from us, we will try to save more lives than they will ever take," said Iman Rizwan Khan. "In this way, where there are a very small minority of extremist Muslims who are trying to take the lives of people, we wish to represent the peaceful and moderate Muslim majority who are here trying to save lives and are trying to promote and establish the peaceful teachings of Islam.

Initially, these drives honored victims of the 9/11 attacks. But in light of recent events, this one was commemorating those killed in Paris.

One pint of blood can save up to three lives. The organization as a whole has raised enough to save more than 118,000 lives. Twenty-seven more pints were collected this weekend in Chantilly -- potentially benefitting up to 80 people.

If you missed this weekend's blood draw, the next one scheduled as part of this larger national movement in Baltimore from December 14 through 20. You can find out more on their website, muslimsforlife.org.

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