The sound of kids playing and soccer balls thumping off the walls of indoor sports fields were a stark contrast to a more sombre atmosphere just steps away.

About 400 people were gathered in the gymnasium basement of Calgary’s northeast Genesis Centre for a special memorial service, called Fateha, to pray for the victims, and their families, of the Christchurch shooting in New Zealand that took 49 lives. Hundreds of pairs of shoes lined the perimeter of the gym, where prayer mats were placed on the floor.

“We read some verses from the Quran and then we supplicate to our mighty God for the forgiveness of those who died and the strength of the families who are behind them, and show our solidarity and respect for the victims,” explained Imam Syed Soharwardy.

It’s likely many of the people who joined in prayer Friday morning in Calgary were thinking of their Muslim brothers and sisters who attended Friday Prayer, or Jumu’ah, before the brutal attack at two mosques, Al-Noor and Linwood, in New Zealand yesterday.

Shortly after the service, members from a variety of faiths gathered to denounce the attacks.

In a small room, close to the gym, Imam Soharwardy, Father Adrian Martens of the Catholic Diocese of Calgary, Rabbi Shaul Osadchey of Beth Tzedec Congregation, Sihk community leader Parmeet Singh and Alberta Minister Irfan Sabir, among others, took turns sharing their thoughts on the horrific attack and what can be done in its aftermath.

“When people of different faiths and different communities come together, it encourages us,” said Soharwardy. “It shows us that we are all united against hate, we all united against Islamophobia, we are all united against anti-Semitism. That sends a very strong message in the community that hate has no place in any faith.”

Similarly, Osadchey said, “We understand that our faiths are linked together. An attack against us is an attack against everyone.”

“In the wake of these tragic instances, we come together more committed, more deeply affirming the values that bring us together, that says we are all God’s creatures, our blood is all the same colour, and we have to continue to move forward with great perseverance, with great passion to eradicate this kind of hatred and instead, to promote what we all profess, which is love and justice and the well-being of everyone,” he said.

Catholic leader Martens echoed his sentiment.

“Unfortunately, sometimes it takes tragedies like this to …read more



(Visited 2 times, 1 visits today)
Hundreds gather for memorial service for Christchurch victims

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *