/stories/2019/03/standing-in-solidarity

Standing in solidarity

Muslim Students of the University of Miami speak at a prayer service held to remember the victims of New Zealand. Photo: TJ Lievonen/University of Miami
By Amanda M. Perez

Muslim Students of the University of Miami speak at a prayer service held to remember the victims of New Zealand. Photo: TJ Lievonen/University of Miami

Standing in solidarity

By Amanda M. Perez
The University of Miami community gathered to remember the victims of the deadly New Zealand mosque attacks.

Silence filled the air as the names and ages of the 50 victims in the deadly mosque attack were read out loud. On Friday afternoon, people from all different backgrounds at the University of Miami converged on the Lakeside Patio to take a moment to honor the lives that were lost on March 15 when a gunman opened fire at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

“It saddens me to tell you that on this beautiful day, instead of enjoying the many good things that God gave us, we have to stand grieving the lives of men, women, and children who were lost in an attack,” said Imam Abdul Hamid Samra. “What makes it easier for us is the support of the UM community to stand with us in solidarity.”

Nearly two dozen people attended the prayer service, which was hosted by the Muslim Students of the University of Miami (MSUM). Qismat Niazi, the president of the organization, said that although the attack did not happen in our vicinity, she, along with many others, have been shaken to the core.

“I would like to instill a hope in our Muslim brothers and sisters and in our non-Muslim colleagues, that there is support here at the U. The fact that we are all here today encourages me to say this statement with confidence,” she said.

Sumra Wahid was another student speaker who is part of the executive board of MSUM. She told the crowd that she vows to pray every day for those who lost their lives.

“In Islam, Muslims consider each other to be part of one ‘Ummah,’ which is a community that is bound to each other and supports one another. This event here today has created a new meaning in my eyes to the word,” said Wahid.

Ryan C. Holmes, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students, also offered words of hope.

“Let us use today’s hurt as a component of tomorrow’s healing, and lets continue to build a better community while serving as a model for those abroad,” he said.

A show of unity was demonstrated at the vigil during a multi-faith prayer for peace. UM chaplains from different faiths offered words of peace.

“It is our responsibility to strengthen each other and come together in times like this to be strong together,” said Rabbi Lyle Rothman. “May gatherings like this cease to exist. It is my prayer to be pursuers of peace.”

At the end of the service, people of all religions were invited to attend a Jumu’ah Prayer at the Shalala Student Center.