The Interchurch Center hosts a vigil for a slain Muslim teen
Muslims and non-Muslims alike have been sickened by a recent tragedy. What was supposed to be a morning of prayer and reflection in the Islamic holy month of Ramadan ended in tragedy when 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen was fatally attacked as she headed back to a Virginia mosque after enjoying a pre-dawn meal with friends.
June 22 the Muslim Alliance of Indiana and the Center for Interfaith Cooperation invited everyone to join a candlelight vigil for Nabra Hassanen. Now more than ever the community needs to come together to grieve with one another and support one another.
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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Dozens of people attended a vigil Thursday evening in Indianapolis to mourn the death of a Muslim teen who was murdered over the weekend in Virginia.
Authorities said 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen was attacked while walking back to a mosque with a group of friends.
The message at the vigil was all about peace, love and kindness. People of different faiths came together to pray and heal from what they’re calling a horrific crime.
Some people told 24-Hour News 8 what happened in Virginia could have happened right here in Indianapolis.
More than 50 people attended a candlelight vigil at the Indiana Interchurch Center.
“Almost exactly 50 years ago, that building was established to bring together people of different faiths to work together to solve problems,” said John Clark, with the Indiana Interchurch Center.
“This is a horrible time for us to have to do that,” Clark continued.
Many came with heavy hearts after the murder of 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen.
“I may not have known her physically, but I know her in the spirit more than anything,” said one woman, who spoke during reflection. “I know her mother’s heart in my spirit.”
Authorities said the Muslim teen was attacked with a baseball bat as she was walking back to the mosque with a group of friends. They believe it may have started as a road rage incident when the suspect got into an argument with someone from that group. At one point, authorities said the suspect tried running them over before getting out of the car with his bat.
“I could have easily been her. I was at my mosque in Carmel. I was out at one o’clock just sitting outside the mosque steps with my friends, and we were talking,” said Maham Nadeem, a student at Butler University. “That could have been easily anyone I know; that could have easily been me, so that’s where the fear comes from. It’s not just someone who died in Virginia. Virginia could easily be Indiana, and she could easily be me.”
While authorities said it appears the attack was not a hate crime, what happened in Virginia is raising a lot of concerns about safety for some people in the Muslim community.
“We don’t know if this particular incident was a hate crime, but we have seen a rise in anti-Muslim rhetoric and hate crimes elsewhere,” said Faryal Khatri, who is part of the Muslim Alliance of Indiana.
Khatri said she hopes people can come together to keep these crimes from happening.
“I think today is about praying and crying and grieving, but tomorrow we’ll wipe the tears away and work to build a nation that’s safe for everybody,” she said.
Authorities said nothing indicates that this crime was motivated by race or by religion, but the victim’s family believes it was a hate crime.
Prosecutors charged 22-year-old Darwin Martinez Torres with murder.[/toggle]
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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Vigils are being held all over the country to remember a Muslim teen who was brutally murdered walking to her mosque for prayer.
Here at home people of all faiths came together to show their support and show they’re ready to take action in the Hoosier state.
A crowd of all faiths gathered outside the Indiana Interchurch Center to remember Nabra Hassanen.
“It could’ve been anyone. It could’ve been any of my friends, it could’ve been me and that’s what really strikes a chord of fear in people,” Maham Nadeem said.
The 17-year-old was killed Sunday morning in Virginia when a man attacked her with a bat while she was walking with a group of friends. Police call it road rage while the family says it was a hate crime. Striking fear in the hearts of Muslims all across the country.
“I don’t want fear to stop me from doing what I do every day but at the same time I do take precautions you know I am aware of where I go, when I go,” Faryal Khatri said.
In Indiana the goal for the center for interfaith cooperation is to educate people about faiths they may not know about instead of judgment.
“Here in Indiana for people not to take for granted that there are some people who feel as though they cannot worship the way they want to without endangering themselves,” Center for Interfaith Cooperation leader, John Clark said.
With Nabra in their hearts they can’t forget what brought them here but they want to move the entire community forward.
“Today we want to take a break and we want to be able to mourn and cry because I think it’s important to express ourselves because those are real emotions and we shouldn’t suppress them but tomorrow after we’ve wiped our tears I think we need to continue working together,” Khatri said.
Right now an IUPUI professor has a competition going on for the community to present ways to prevent Islamophobia. For more on that campaign click here.