VILLA PARK, Ill. — More than 500 people gathered at the Islamic Foundation Mosque for a vigil Sunday night after terrorist attacks in New Zealand mosques left 50 dead and scores more wounded.
The tragedy hit especially close to home for those who worship at the Villa Park mosque.
The mother, sister and cousins of victim Mohammed Imran Khan, 37, are all congregates at the house of worship. The family, who lost Khan’s father six months ago, wished to remain anonymous. Khan owned an Indian restaurant in New Zealand.
At Sunday’s vigil, those of different faiths sat side by side.
“Today, we are all Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, human beings,” U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi said.
Earlier Sunday in Daley Plaza, prayer mats were taped together — each representing a victim killed in Friday’s shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand. Names of the victims were read aloud.
At a vigil at the Islamic Society of Midwest in Mt. Prospect, mourners expressed hope for the future.
“Hate can only be defeated when good people come together and stand up to call it out,” U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider said.
“Hate will not stop us from joining together,” Imam Hisham of the Islamic Foundation said. “We will not be scared away from our houses of worship, and our hearts will be stronger than our minds.”