Muslim Student Association hosts vigil for New Zealand

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Muslim Student Association hosts vigil for New Zealand

Fifty candles were lit at the vigil held at the AMU for the victims of the mass shooting in New Zealand on Friday.

Fifty candles were lit at the vigil held at the AMU for the victims of the mass shooting in New Zealand on Friday.

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Fifty candles were lit at the vigil held at the AMU for the victims of the mass shooting in New Zealand on Friday.

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Fifty candles were lit at the vigil held at the AMU for the victims of the mass shooting in New Zealand on Friday.

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Marquette University’s Muslim Student Association laid out 50 candles and flowers at a candlelight prayer vigil in the Alumni Memorial Union’s second floor lobby last night to honor the 50 lives lost in the recent terrorist attack in New Zealand.

Fifty Muslim people were killed, and 50 more were injured in the Christchurch mosque shooting Friday.

The vigil began with a recitation from the Quran and included various reflections from MSA members, University President Michael Lovell and volunteers from the audience.

The vigil concluded by reading out the identified names of the lives lost in the shooting along with a moment of silence.

“Our hearts go out to our Muslim community, not only here at Marquette but around the world,” Lovell said.

Lovell said there are times when Muslim students do not feel accepted at Marquette.

“(Students) who treat (Muslim students) that way are the minority of people,” he said. “The vast majority of campus want to accept them and support them.”

Lovell said it was important for communities to rally together during times of tragedy.

“I’m really proud of our campus tonight,” Lovell said.

Afnan Musaitif, interim chaplain for Muslim student services, said it is important to create a sense of community.

“I was just hoping that I would see a lot of faces come together and honor those who were killed. … This can be a really trying time for everyone,” Musaitif said. “It brings up a lot of complex emotions.”

Musaitif said acts like the one that occurred in New Zealand bring up fear for many people.

“Your first instinct might be to retreat,” she said. “I think it is important to fight against that and come together and support one another.”

Maaz Ahmed, a freshman in the College of Communication, volunteered to say a few words about the connection of humanity during the vigil.

“When I heard about what happened, I think I spent about two hours with my teeth clenched,” Ahmed said. “I felt that maybe what I had would be viable to share and remind us.”

Ahmed said he felt representation of minorities is very important.

“Every step we take, whether we like it or not, is a representation of what we align ourselves with,” he said.

Nadia Malik, a junior in the College of Health Sciences and MSA member, said the turnout was much higher than expected and included members from different races and religions that were representative of Marquette’s community.

The lobby was full and all the seat that were out were filled.

“I think it’s really important in times like these that Muslims and non-Muslims come together in solidarity to remind each other that we are more alike than different,” Malik said.

She said life on Earth is short and people should reach out to different members of our community to learn more about each other.

Jordanne Hanson, a freshman in the College of Health Sciences, said she felt happy that so many people attended the event.

“Something that resonated with me was the call for people of various communities to love each other, to talk about our experiences and to learn about one another through tragedy, but also under better circumstances in the future,” she said.

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