Members Of OKC Mosque Speak Out Against Alton Nolen
OKLAHOMA CITY - The man accused of severing the head of a co-worker is also being talked about at his former place of worship.
One leader at the mosque says he started seeing Alton Nolen, 30, worshipping there in May or June. Many members said they didn't really know him, but say his views do not represent Islam.
It was a typical day of worship at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City on Sunday near SW 39th St. and Portland Ave. Dozens came in to pray, similar to how one-time member Alton Nolen would do.
"He attended this mosque a few times. We've seen him. He was always a very odd and quiet, different individual, but he didn't do anything that would raise a red flag about what his inner thoughts were," said Saad Mohammed, Director of Islamic information for the ISGOC.
Mohammed said Nolen kept to himself.
“I saw him here every Friday, and at one time he had his prayer rug and his Quran on the floor, and I made him pick up the Quran because we don't want the holy book of god on the floor. So I asked him to pick it up, and he did and that was the end of it."
He says he was shocked to hear on Thursday, Nolen viciously stabbed two co-workers, beheading one, at Vaughan Foods. Now, in Moore, there is a memorial dedicated to both victims.
"It was very sickening that a human being could do this to another human being, no matter if they're Muslim or non-Muslim," Mohammed said.
Members say the mosque does not teach violence and denounces ISIS. Many say Nolen was mentally disturbed and latched on to some extremist views.
"We don't have any association with these kind of people. This is some like random guy, who was just doing this crazy stuff, and they're like blaming Islam for that, so that's not cool," said mosque member Dr. Syed Hashmi. “We love humanity and we love mankind.”
ISGOC also says people like Nolen, who commit crazy acts of violence, only make up one percent of the 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide.
Nolen remains in the hospital, but is conscious and investigators have interviewed him. Police expect him to be formally charged tomorrow.