Hundreds of people gathered Friday at Lexington mosque Masjid Bilal Ibn Rabah in solidarity after the horrific mosque shootings in New Zealand allegedly carried out by a white supremacist.
Two mosques were attacked. The shooting at Christchurch’s Al Noor Mosque killed at least 41. The man who claimed responsibility was a self-described Australian white nationalist who hates immigrants, according to the Associated Press.
The second attack was carried out almost simultaneously at Linwood Mosque not far away from Al Noor, according to the New York Times. At least seven people were killed. Roughly 50 were injured in total at the two sites.
The gunman at Al Noor live-streamed his killings, which occurred during Friday prayers, multiple media reported. One man in his 20s was reportedly charged with murder. Another three people were taken into custody and names were not initially released.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Lexington Herald-Leader
The entire country is just a little bigger in population than the state of Kentucky.
“No one has to die because of their color, race or religion,” said Dr. Jamil Farooqui, the former president of the Masjid Bilal Ibn Rabah and a current board member. “That has to stop. The only way to stop it is for people to join hands and stop this insanity.”
The crowd for the weekly prayer at the mosque on Russell Cave Road was much larger than a typical Friday, as dozens of people from other faiths joined with the congregation. Crowds filled the parking lot at the mosque and a separate lot at Fender Funeral Directors down the street.
“No matter how big the hate is, love has to be bigger than hate,” Farooqui, the former president of the mosque and a current board member. “That’s how we survive. It’s amazing to see the support.”
There was similar interfaith support last year following a fatal Pittsburgh synagogue shooting. Members of the Muslim community, as well as other faiths, went to Temple Adath Israel as a show of solidarity.
Rabbi David Wirtschafter of Temple Adath Israel spoke during the Jum’ah, which is known as Friday Prayer in the Muslim community. He said another “ugly day of hate” led to a day of holiness between all faiths.
“Our tradition teaches that God created us out of two parents so that everyone would know that no one’s blood is any more precious than anyone else,” Wirtschafter said.
“Whoever attacks a house of worship — a mosque, a church, a synagogue, a mondir, a temple — desecrates not only that house of worship, he or she desecrates the notion of the divine itself,” he added.