Local doctor plans candle-light vigil for New Zealand shooting victims

March 19, 2019
Doctor Fahim Rahim, left, and his wife, Beena Mannan, pose with a sign offering their philosophy of unity. They're organizing a candle-light vigil for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the local mosque in memory of the shooting victims of New Zealand.

“Extremism and racism have no religion. No words can describe this despicable heinous act. Staving off extremism begins with civic education in schools and fighting hate speech online. It’s unacceptable to allow hate speech in the name of “Freedom of Expression”.

- a friend.

I know that I represent the whole community of Eastern Idaho, not just Muslims but people of all denomination, my neighbors and friends who join me in strongly condemning this heinous act of hate crime and murder of 50 innocent individuals. An evil, extreme hate driven individual opened fire in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand two days ago, taking these innocent lives because he hated Muslims including a 3 yrs old boy named Mucaad. Our hearts go to the victims & their families.

What’s my mind thinking right now, I was asked by a friend.

Following things;

1) Firstly we need to understand and call this as to what it is. It is an act of “Terrorism and Hate crime” which is driven by the hate and divide that is slowly being filtered among us. This individual’s act is no different that the acts of ISIS, Al-Qaeda, the tragedy in a Synagogue in Pittsburgh, in Las Vegas, Oklahoma, 911 or any part of the world where innocent lives are taken. Hate Crime and Terrorism.... We should not attempt to Humanize Evil.

2) How do we prevent such tragedies. Yesterday Pocatello saw a beautiful example of how communities bring each other closer. As Beena and I sat through the heartwarming ceremony of the groundbreaking for Pocatello Temple, several leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke eloquently delivering a message of love for humanity, call for service and inclusivity. That event was a perfect example of how to unite communities and give each other a chance to learn about each other.

3) The recent attempt of some of our political leaders in Boise where they invited a spokesperson to deliver anti-Muslim speech and message of division was a complete opposite of #2. The basic intention for that was to earn more votes by creating an environment of fear and hate.

We as a community and as individuals need to understand that it is our “civic responsibility” not just a religious one to curb all elements of hate and divide. WE, both individually in our families and communally in our communities need to “strongly and equally” denounce not just acts of violence and hate crimes but also all those platforms that promote it.

We need to hold our leaders and politicians responsible for their speeches and messages of hate, divide and fear. We should not let such individuals feed us fear or hate just for a political motive. It is ok to have differences of opinions and ideology but understand that as humans who share this beautiful earth we have a lot more that unites us than that draws us apart.

The small Muslim community of Pocatello would like to invite all our friends, neighbors and community members to a Candlelight Vigil we are planning;

March 19th. Tuesday 7:30 pm MST at Pocatello Mosque. 1513 South 5th Avenue. Pocatello.

Please bring a candle and join us as we pray for the victims and their families but at the same time we show the world that there is no room for hate or divide among us. Any individual or an organization that will try to create such divide in our family will have no room among us. We are one ......

Now let me tell you about the #HelloBrother those were the words that came out of the mouth of the first victim as he greeted the shooter at the door of the mosque, before a bullet struck his chest. Even if u are unable to join that evening please light a candle and say the words “Hello Brother” and share your prayer with us.

“So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth.” – Baha’U’Llah