The Islamic Post Blog

Broome County Council of Churches Welcomes Muslims of the Americas for Candlelight Vigil by Khalida
May 21, 2009, 5:50 am
Filed under: Interfaith, May Volume I - 2009, National

By Fatimah Dawud
Islamic Post Staff Writer

(IP) –Members of the Muslims of the Americas (MOA) and other groups attended the prayer vigil at the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Binghamton, NY. The community stood in unified grief over the shooting tragedy that left 14 dead last month. MOA members Abu Amir, Ibrahim Caba, M Asraf, Fatimah Begum, Shireen Rashid, Umm Shafi, Bilquis Abdallah, Layla Abdullah, Hanan Aziz and others lit candles in support of the people who lost family members and friends after a gunman attacked the American Civic Association center while English classes were in session for immigrants. The following is a narrative of Fatimah Begum, who attended the vigil:
“When we first got there we were greeted with welcoming smiles and hugs. Deacon Barbara Hayden came right up to us and thanked us for coming. After her, other pastors, deacons, and fathers came and greeted us. We thanked them for inviting us and mentioned that we came on behalf of His Eminence, El Sheikh Syed Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani.”
“The first to speak was the Head of the Broome County Council of Churches, Mr Sellepack. He opened with a welcoming address, and mentioned Muslims as friends, saying Muslims and Christians have to come together in this time of need to join together for peace for the community. He thanked us for being there.
“After the refreshments, Mr. Sellepack came down and again thanked us for coming and we talked about future projects together to help the community.”
Fatimah Begum continues: “Camera men for all TV stations across the country were there, BBC, CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and other local new stations. Most stations were able to come in to tape the vigil; however, Deacon Barbara came to tell us that Fox News came to the door and asked to come in and tape the prayer vigil but she told them they were not welcome in her church. She felt that they insulted us with their recent report and said she does not want to have anything to do with them. They stayed outside.
“We mingled and exchanged information with others, talked about how we are going to assist and console the families, and left our names and numbers for where we could be reached if anyone might need our services, and prepared to take our leave. We were walking out we met the Imam of one of the mosques here in Binghamton and he told us that two Muslim women were killed in this tragedy.”
Other major news networks had been scheduled to visit Holy Islamberg and interview a family living in a model Muslim village during the weekend following the parade. However, MOA postponed the media gathering after hearing news of the tragedy that shook Binghamton, grieving the small city and its Muslim neighbors in Holy Islamberg, which is located a short distance away.


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