An interfaith vigil prayer is being held in Surrey on Friday (March 22) for the victims of the deadly mosque shootings in New Zealand.
“We call out to everyone to help end violence, especially when it threatens the lives of children,” said vigil organizer Sikander Hayat in a release. “As a community, we should strive to create a space for children and their families to live that is safe, tolerant, and compassionate.”
Attacks at two mosques left at least 50 people dead and just as many injured last Friday in Christchurch, New Zealand. Thirty-four wounded remained in hospital as of Monday morning, where officials said 12 were in critical condition. A four-year-old girl at a children’s hospital in Auckland was also listed as critical.
Brenton Harrison Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian national and avowed white supremacist, has been charged in the attacks.
Hayat, a director at Amazing Tutors Children’s Foundation, said Friday’s vigil in Surrey aims to show solidarity with the victims’ families and to bring together people from different faiths to promote peace and understanding in a world faced with extremism.
“We must continue to speak up in the face of rising intolerance and hatred – by making it clear that we will conquer hate with compassion, love, understanding and justice,” he said. “By educating children and young people about extremism, Islam and other faiths with strong curricula based on current research findings, we can move forward.
“The fruits of this type of educational program can be a caring and giving community made up of compassionate, forgiving, respectful, and tolerant and citizens.”
Friday’s vigil is scheduled to take place from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Holland Park (13428 Old Yale Rd).