Two speeches from yesterday’s vigil:
By Elektra Williams
Hello friends. My name is Elektra Williams and I speak to you all on behalf of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship and in solidarity with all the other groups represented here tonight. It is heartwarming to see so many gathered here in the embrace of community as we come together in the remembrance of the Muslim lives lost last weekend. I would also like to give voice to Coptic Christians that suffer from this sort of senseless violence. May we never stop supporting each other and may we never forget that we are family.
I am sure we are all experiencing a multitude of feelings – grief, confusion, rage, and hopelessness. However, I earnestly challenge you to embrace feelings of love, unity, hope, and gratitude. Love for those who adhere to our social contract of mutual respect and kindness. Unity with those that come together against injustice. Hope for a better and safer future. Gratitude for those who we are lucky enough to have in our lives.
I have two biblical passages that I would like to share with you all. The first is from the Book of Proverbs, Chapter 3, Verses 24-26: “When you lie down, you will not be afraid; Yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet. Do not be afraid of sudden terror, Nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes; For the Lord will be your confidence, And will keep your foot from being caught.” Additionally, the Second Epistle to Timothy, Chapter 1, Verse 7 proclaims: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
Let us come out of this tragedy with more strength than we previously held, and let these candles remind us of the flames inside us that burn for true fellowship.
By Maryam Rostoum
Assalamu Alaikum – Peace be Upon You. Peace.
My name is Maryam Rostoum and I am the President of the Muslim Student Association here at Columbia. “Inna Lillah wa Inna Ilahi Rajioon” – truly we are from God and to him we will Return. This is a verse from the Qur’an that is often repeated when someone passes away. Today, we are lighting candles for the 305 Egyptian brothers and sisters whose lives were taken whilst praying their Friday prayers at the Mosque. The North Sinai province in Egypt experienced something last week that no community should ever have to know, unspeakable cruelty and violence perpetrated on hundreds of people who came together for the bonds of faith and community. We stand here today in solidarity and with heavy hearts. Our Prophet Muhamad (S) said that if we see injustice, we must act against it and if we cannot physically act against it we must speak out against it and if we cannot speak against it we must at the least make a supplication. So I am going to ask in these closing moments of the vigil, for everyone to just pray with me.
• May Allah (s.w.t) grant those who have passed with Janet al-Firdous (the highest level of heaven)
• May He heal those who were injured
• May He bring ease and patience in the hearts of those who have lost their loved ones
• May He bring justice to the wrongdoers.
• May He help us stop those who oppress, whether they be of our nation, race, religion or not.
• May He give us the strength to work for the good of all humanity and against what is harmful to all of us.
• May He make us all among those who struggle for what is just, good and beautiful
• And May He protect us from hate and intolerance.