About 100 Syracuse University students and staff gathered in front of Hendricks Chapel as the sun set Monday evening to hold a candlelight vigil in honor of those who lost their lives in the Paris terrorist attacks. The remembrance featured representatives of every faith tradition who offered their thoughts and read passages from their respective religious texts. Devon Bartholomew is the Assistant Baptist Chaplain at Hendricks.
"Our hearts are burdened for those seeking justice. We are mourning for those who live in fear. And we weep for every life that has been lost. Terror, intimidation, and manipulation have plagued our communities both abroad and here at home."
The faith leaders also asked those at the vigil to remember those who’ve died in terrorist attacks around the world in recent months, including Lebanon, Russia, Egypt, Syria, and Iraq. SU sophomore Zainav Abgali is a Muslim from Pakistan, which sees regular violence from Islamic extremists. She says it’s important for her to speak at vigils like this.
"It happens so often we forget, or that we just become desensitized to it, and we just chalk it up to another number. So, when we have vigils to remember...I just feel I have to."
Abgali acknowledges it’s natural for people to be more shocked when an attack takes place in a city the size of Paris than in her native Pakistan. But she says death means the same everywhere.
"Every child that a parent has to bury, it doesn't matter if they're Pakistani, American, or British, or whatever. It's still something they should never have to do. I do think people forget, maybe because it's farther away, and it's easier for us to stay within our own little bubble.”
Abgali says mothers in Pakistan buried 32 children who died when militants shot up a school almost a year ago. She says she doesn’t have the patience for those who lump all Muslims together.
"If people think me and other Muslims who've lost people to terrorism are responsible for it, I don't know why I should explain that to them. So many Muslims apologize or are always condemning things, but I don't feel the need to because it has nothing to do with me."