Hundreds Hold Vigil to Stand Up Against Hate, Honor Dead in New Zealand Mosque Shootings

Published : Sunday, March 17, 2019 | 5:36 AM

Courtesy of the Muslim Public Affairs Council via Twitter

Hundreds of Pasadena-area residents of different faiths came together Saturday night at the steps of Pasadena City Hall to join and support local Muslims in a vigil for the victims of the New Zealand mosque shootings.

Vigil keepers held candles in the darkening evening at an event co-sponsored by the Islamic Center of Southern California and the Muslim Public Affairs Council which was joined by members of the Jewish, Christian and Sikh faiths, among others.

Leaders of the Islamic Center of Southern California, Jewish and Christian faith leaders, and Pasadena Police Chief John Perez were scheduled to speak.

Many in the crowd brought rugs and offered their daily prayers as well as prayers for the 50 Muslims who lost their lives and the dozens more who were wounded in Christchurch on Friday.

“For me, my friends who wear the hijab, my mother who wears a hijab, that’s the No. 1 fear, is when they walk on the street…are they going to get attacked. Things like this perpetuate hate,” local Muslim community member Sara Nabhan told KABC-7 News.

Earlier, Perez said there are no known threats against the local Islamic community.

Perez offered his condolences to the families and friends of the victims of “this horrific crime.”

“Clearly our hearts and our minds and our prayers all go out to all of those that had been impacted,” Perez said. “All the families and friends that have been impacted by the loss of life. It’s, it’s terrible. So I hope that we reach out to this community at Pasadena to connect to them and provide any kind of support that we can. But on top of that, for us all to keep connecting as a community, to be one.”

Another local Muslim community member, Tarek Shawky, said Pasadena is a welcoming city and that as a Muslim living here he feels safe and accepted.

“But at the same time, you know that the Muslims who were praying in New Zealand felt equally as safe and had no idea that this was going to happen,” Shawky said.

“Seemingly everything seems great on the surface, but it’s always just under the surface that people are hiding their bad intentions. And you never know how those are going to come out,” he said.