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Inter-faith community shows solidarity at Eugene Islamic Center

Members of the Eugene Islamic Center said seeing so many different faces, races and religions pack the halls of their Mosque this evening was not only heartwarming but something they'll never soon forget.

Posted: Mar 15, 2019 11:19 PM
Updated: Mar 22, 2019 4:06 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- The Islamic community is still in mourning after a gunman in New Zealand opened fire on two mosques, killing at least 49 people and injuring 48 others.

Here in Eugene, the Islamic Center was packed to capacity in a showing of love and support during this time of grief.

This came just hours after others showed up in solidarity during Friday afternoon prayer.

RELATED: EUGENE RALLIES AROUND MUSLIM COMMUNITY AFTER NEW ZEALAND ATTACK

Members of the Eugene Islamic Center said seeing so many different faces, races and religions pack the halls of their Mosque this evening was not only heartwarming but something they'll never soon forget.

On Friday night, the Islamic Center held a prayer for those lost in two shootings carried out in New Zealand and members of the Islamic faith weren't the only ones in attendance.

"This is truly an inter-faith motion of solidarity," said Sarah Skochko, Intern Minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Eugene. "Trinity Methodist Church was here, Temple Beth Israel, someone from the Buddhist Temple was here this afternoon as well. So, the entire Eugene inter-faith community has come together to show their solidarity and their love for the Masjid."

Dozens of bouquets and cards decorated their community area, and dozens of people joined in prayer and mourning.

"We have to keep the faith that God is love and God is light, and hatred and fear will never overcome God," said a student leader at St. Thomas More Newman Center.

Skochko said though she and others came out in a movement of solidarity and to offer protection, they themselves were moved by the amount of support by others in the Eugene community.

"If even one person shows up to do the right thing, that would make my heart sing with joy," Skochko said. "Even one is enough. The fact that even more would show up does make me glad."

Mejdi Aimeur, a member of the Eugene Islamic Center, said seeing their halls filled with love and kindness was moving.

"I wasn't expecting this," Aimeur said. "It melts my heart to see all these people. Like I said, I was kinda scared this morning, but now I feel like, totally not even scared or nothing. I know I'm safe in this area."

After prayers were held inside, a small candlelight vigil was held outside by members of the Eugene community in remembrance of those who lost their lives in New Zealand.

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