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Hundreds Attend Interfaith Memorial In Wake Of New Zealand Attack

Hundreds of people gathered inside a Miami Valley Muslim community center to honor the victims of recent violence at two mosques in New Zealand.
April Laissle
/
WYSO
Hundreds of people gathered inside a Miami Valley Muslim community center to honor the victims of recent violence at two mosques in New Zealand.

Hundreds of people gathered inside a Miami Valley Muslim community center Monday night to honor the victims of last week’s mass shooting at two mosques in New Zealand. Several prominent Ohio religious and political figures spoke at the interfaith event, including former Gov. Bob Taft and Dayton City Commissioner Matt Joseph.

Speakers at the Al-Huda Mosque in Bellbrook memorialized the 50 victims of the Christchurch attacks, denounced hate speech and urged interfaith understanding.

The service was the largest gathering in the mosque’s history, says Dr. Ayman Salem, vice chairmen of the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton.

Salem called the turnout encouraging in the wake of the tragedy.

"What happened today [Monday] is making us less fearful about the spread of hate. The whole community center was full and people were just full of love for it," he says.

The memorial service followed just weeks after another mosque in Dayton was vandalized.

In that incident late last month, a white man was captured on video breaking windows and pointing a gun at surveillance cameras at the Al-Rahman Mosque on Josie Street.

Mosque officials have called on police to investigate that incident as a hate crime.