Interfaith prayer service held for victims of terror attacks in New Zealand

March 17, 2019 11:49 PM

"We are people united, we might have different backgrounds, we might have different perspectives on faith, we have different families of origin, countries of origin, but when it comes to sense of unity, we are created in the image of god all standing together" said Rabbi Matt Cutler of Congregation Gates of Heaven.

Standing together is exactly what happened when  hundreds of community members from many different faith congregations stood side by side in prayer at the Islamic center of the Capital Region on Sunday.

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"This meant a lot to us, so we decided to get together and pray for the victims who died in the attacks" said Humera Khan of the Islamic Center of the Capital District.

On Friday, a gunman killed 50 victims and injured close to 40 others who were praying at two mosques in New Zealand. The attack was one of the worst of its kind on the Muslim community. Many of those worshiping the services say we must continue to stand united against hate and bigotry even though it may have previously affected their own religious communities.

"It was sad when Pittsburgh happened, the entire community came out for us and we feel the same way" said Cantor Jodi Schectman, Congregation Beth Emeth.
"A Sikh temple in W.I. had been the target of a shooting back in 2012 so we are well aware of the hate that exists in some parts of the world" said Dr. Paul Uppal of Garu Nanak of Darbar of Albany.

Some attending say it was equally as important for them to come and show their love and support for all faiths living in this community.

"One of the things that is most important when you deal with acts of hate or terror is that people know there is no place for hate" said Rabbi Cutler.

Organizers say they are overwhelmed and deeply touched by the outpouring of support they've received. They say they are not going to allow the horrific acts in New Zealand to affect their ability to practice their faith.

"We want to be strong, we don't want to show we are afraid of it" said Khan.

"We feel the same way, it's sad that we have to continue to do this, sad that these events keep happening, but we are one community and this is unacceptable" said Schectman.

"Our faith is common, our values our common and love will always conquer over evil, and we must strive to always keep that in mind said Uppal.


Brooke Selby

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