New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

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Vigil at Kimmel To Honor New Zealand Victims

The Islamic Center held a vigil on Friday to honor victims of the Christchurch shooting.
Students+crowd+the+steps+of+Kimmel+to+listen+to+speakers+of+different+faiths+at+the+vigil.+%28Photo+by+Alana+Beyer%29
Students crowd the steps of Kimmel to listen to speakers of different faiths at the vigil. (Photo by Alana Beyer)

Over 100 students came together to fill the steps and balcony of the Kimmel Center for University Life on Friday to share prayers and thoughts for the victims and families of the Christchurch shooting in New Zealand that occurred earlier that day. Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, attended the vigil hosted by the Islamic Center at NYU.

Mariam Abukwaik, a Silver sophomore, whose uncle was killed in the massacre, spoke about the need for justice in times like these.

“We call for justice, in their name, until we return to them,” Abukwaik said to the crowd.

Mariam Abukwaik calls for justice. (Photo by Alana Beyer)

At two Christchurch mosques in New Zealand, a lone gunman opened fire during Friday prayers. Around 49 people were killed in what Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called one of New Zealand’s “darkest days.”

Associate Chaplain for the Center for Global and Spiritual Life Faiyaz Jaffer also spoke about a need for everyone, regardless of race and creed, to unite against acts of violence like this.

“Within ourselves as individuals, and within every single one of us as a community, we have an opportunity.” Jaffer said. “The potential to make a real difference in this world that so desperately needs us,’ Jaffer said.

Khalid Latif, the first Muslim chaplain to be appointed to NYU, led a prayer and discussed the importance of keeping faith for the Muslim community in difficult times.

“The solution here is to not be somebody who leaves behind their prayer,” Latif said. “That’s exactly what these people want.”

Muslim Chaplain Khalid Latif leads a prayer. (Photo by Alana Beyer)

Latif said he believes deep-seated roots of white supremacy underlie these acts of terror, something he said should be acknowledged.

“If you want to know what happens when we call it anything less than [white supremacy], we just add to the future victimization of Muslims and minorities,” Latif said.

The event also featured various speakers from other religious congregations, including Yehuda Sarna, the Executive Director of the Bronfman Center, who gave his blessings at the vigil.

“The blessing of the things that when we hold them in our hands, make us nearer to each other, and bring us closer together,” Sarna said.

NYU released a statement saying that the Department of Public Safety will be in touch with the NYPD and Latif to see if there are additional steps they can take to safeguard Muslim students on campus.

“I have been to Christchurch; it’s hard to imagine a place seemingly less likely for this kind of tragedy to occur,” NYU President Andrew Hamilton wrote in the statement. “It is a painful reminder that hatred knows no borders.”

Students participate in a prayer led by Khalid Latif. (Photo by Alana Beyer)

After the vigil, several members of the student activist community, including CAS senior Leen Dweik, circled Chelsea Clinton and confronted her about her recent tweets to Muslim Congresswomen Ilhan Omar. Omar sparked controversy after saying that many politicians defend Israel because of money from lobbying groups like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. In her tweet, Clinton said that people should address anti-Semitism on all sides, regardless of political affiliation.

“This right here is the result of a massacre stoked by people like you and the words that you have put out into the world,” Dweik said to Clinton. “I want you to know that and I want you to feel that.”

Clinton was backed against a corner for some time before Latif and another person intervened. Before being escorted out of the building, Clinton apologized to the students and said that it was never her intention to hurt anyone. Students involved in the incident declined to comment to WSN.

Email Mansee Khurana at [email protected].

About the Contributors
Mansee Khurana, Under the Arch Editor
Mansee Khurana is a CAS sophomore studying Psychology and Philosophy. You can usually find her in the newsroom trying to convince you to help her with a crossword or ranting about Jeopardy. If not, she probably got lost on the subway. Help her out by following her on Twitter @mansee_writes.
Alana Beyer, Deputy Video Editor
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  • M

    Mollie FermaglichMar 18, 2019 at 5:32 pm

    Look at what many of your professors have created. Not particularly a fan of any Clinton, but to blame her when Omar deals in nothing but anti-Semitic rhetoric and tropes, would be hilarious if it weren’t so sad. These out-of-touch ‘rebels” are in fact endorsing anti-Semitism. What happened in New Zealand is tragic, as was the massacre of Jews in Pittsburgh. In Pittsburgh, the Muslm community supported survivors and their families. What Omar and these creepy radical and, might I add, ill-informed SJWs, do nothing but destroy.

    Reply
  • B

    BrianMar 15, 2019 at 11:23 pm

    Imagine blaming Chelsea Clinton for the massacre in New Zealand…

    “Associate Chaplain for the Center for Global and Spiritual Life Faiyaz Jaffer also spoke about a need for everyone, regardless of race and creed, to unite against acts of violence like this.”

    Sound like Dweik didn’t get the message.

    Reply