Prayer vigil held for New Zealand victims
The Muslim Student Association held a vigil to honor the victims lost in the mass shooting and terror attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, last week.
The vigil honored the 50 people who were killed in the Christchurch mosque shooting in New Zealand on March 15. Several students gathered on Hilton C. Buley Library patio to say a prayer in remembrance of the victims.
Haroon Chaudhry, MSA’s president and a business major, said he was happy so many students came out to show their support.
“There was a lot of pressure to see if people were going to come support the Muslim community or not, and seeing more people actually made me feel more comfortable,” said Chaudhry.
Oher members of the university, including President Joe Bertolino, and clubs said a few words to share their support, as well. When Chaudhry heard about the mass shooting, he said he was at a loss for words.
“I was shocked,” he said. “I was speechless, I had no words to describe my feelings at the moment. The only thing you could do is sit down and cry about it.”
Asma Rahimyar, who handles community outreach for MSA and a political science and philosophy double major, said she was overwhelmed by the amount of support the club received.
Upon hearing about the shooting, Rahimyar said her reaction was multifaceted. Since a young age she’s had an expectation that she would not be treated the same way as others are because of her faith.
“When you see the 50 people that passed away and you see their photos, or when you read their stories and you see yourself in those stories, it’s very palpable,” said Rahimyar. “That fear goes from being something abstract to being something very palpable and very real.”
Like Rahimyar, Chaudhry said he understands there are always going to be people who are against Islam and there often is nothing he can do about it.
“The only thing we as Muslim people can do is educate those people, providing them different opportunities to learn about Islam,” said Chaudhry.
Uruj Khan, a communication disorders major and MSA member, said it was great to see Muslim and non-muslim people coming together to support the victims.
“I was pretty shocked,” said Khan, “but unfortunately it happens, and all we can do is come together and put hatred aside.”
Photo Credit: Jessica Guerrucci