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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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‘All united’

Photo by Photo by Meredith Seaver

Students gathered in Academic Plaza Wednesday evening to honor those who were killed in the Christchurch, New Zealand, mosque shootings. Candles were lit and members of different faiths across campus stood in solidarity.

Aggies of all faiths and backgrounds stood quietly in candlelight on Wednesday night to honor the victims of last week’s New Zealand mosque shootings.
A joint effort between several students, the vigil was held in Academic Plaza due to the location’s role in Silver Taps remembrance ceremonies. Organizers said it was essential for them to hold the vigil after a gunman walked into two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, during Friday prayer and killed 50 Muslims on March 15.
After a reading of the names of the shooting victims and a five-minute silence, individuals representing the Sikh, Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities spoke at the vigil. The gathering ended with a Muslim Dua — a prayer incorporating passages from the Quran — that was translated into English. “We wanted to incorporate members of different faiths to show that despite different religious beliefs we are all united in our struggle for peace and love,” biomedical sciences senior Roukaya Mabizari said. “We hope to tear down the negative stigma associated with Islam and show that Islam is a religion of peace and we are just as much affected by terrorist attacks as any other person.”
Public health freshman Iman Ahmed was another one of the students who helped organize the vigil. As a Muslim, Ahmed said the shooting affected her personally because her younger sisters attend school at a mosque.
“It just really hit home because it’s a place I go to every day, a place my family goes to every day, and so for such a horrendous act to happen, it’s just scary to know that could be happening anywhere and that there are people in this world that have the sick twisted view of the world, and of Muslims, people they don’t know or they understand,” Ahmed said.
Business administration sophomore Dana Murad was one of the organizers who reached out to various religious organizations on campus. Though she said previous shootings have made Muslim community members scared, she appreciated the support at the vigil. She said it was incredibly meaningful to see so many stand together in solidarity.
“I know that the goal was to diverge our community but we’re not going to let that happen; we need to come together,” Murad said. “To know that my community members of different faiths were able to come together as a stand against this massacre was very heartwarming, and if anything this only brought us more together.”
Chemical engineering senior Grace Dansby heard about the vigil from a friend. As a regular attendee at remembrance ceremonies like Silver Taps and Muster, Dansby felt it was important to come together and honor the individuals lost in the Christchurch shooting.
“I think that sometimes I’m very stuck in my own bubble, like ‘I’m trying to graduate’ or ‘I’m trying to finish these things,’ but there’s much bigger things happening outside of my little world here at A&M and things I could be doing to help bring awareness,” Dansby said. “Seeing different people from all walks of life coming to honor the same cause and the same people I think makes you more aware of thinking outside of myself on a day to day basis.”
Student Body President-elect Mikey Jaillet said the vigil shows that regardless of whether someone attended A&M or not, Aggies care and show support for all people of the world.
“It symbolizes the Aggie Spirit first and foremost by the fact that the vast differences of people here and the fact that we are standing up for people that have probably never touched College Station or Texas A&M, but these people do mean so much to the Aggie family as well, and we are thinking about them in thoughts, prayers,” Jalliet said.
Economics freshman Abdullah Shaikh said he was inspired to help organize the vigil because he believed that showing love and unity would be the best way to oppose the hatred inherent in the shooting.
“Having all of these people of faith here tonight, what I want them to take away is that we as Muslims, we’re your family and you’re our family,” Shaikh said. “If you ever need anything, you can reach out to us, and I know that if I need anything I can reach out to you.”

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