Hundreds Attend Peace Rally at Islamic Center

By: Estephany Escobar
By: Estephany Escobar

More than 400 people attended the peace rally at the Islamic Center of the Shenandoah Valley on Sunday.

The rally comes after someone vandalized the Islamic Center on Friday and the Reedemer Classical school in Keezletown on Saturday.

Members of several churches and city leaders spoke at the event to show support for the targeted community.

Cindy Carr who attended the rally said it's important to remember the things we have in common.

"We are all brothers and sisters. We are all Americans," she said.

Carr, a pastor at River Church in Harrisonburg, said Muslims might not share her faith, but she believes in freedom of religion.

"I think anytime you're a target of hate, it makes a difference when people that are different from you come and hold your hands and say we are here with you," Carr said.

Deanna Durham who attended the rally said she can't believe someone in the community would do something like this.

" It's really disheartening and I'm here to say we want to be helpful, we want to be supportive, we want you to know that we care deeply of what happens here," Durham said.

The Islamic Center's Board President Muhammad Afridi said he's sad worship places are vandalized. However, he said he is glad people from different beliefs are gathered for peace.

"They're very supportive in the past and they're very supportive now. We are fortunate to have these people come together as one," he said.

Harrisonburg City Council member Kai Degner who helped organize the rally said the values of America were present at the rally.

"We all know who we are in Harrisonburg and given the opportunity to step up, build community and extend hands to each other, we'll do it," he said.

For Carr, to move forward, the community has to look beyond their differences.

"What will bring us back in a place of unity is when we can focus in what we are similar," he said.

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