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CAIR Oklahoma, Muslim leaders hold prayer vigil for victims of Chapel Hill murders

Sarah Hussain / Red Dirt Report
CAIR Oklahoma's executive director Adam Soltani addresses crowd in attendance for prayer vigil for the victims of the recent Chapel Hill murders.
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OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma Chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, which is known by the acronym “CAIR” hosted a memorial service Sunday night for the three young Muslims who were murdered in North Carolina last week.

The service was held in the auditorium of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City and images of the murdered young people, Deah Barakat, his wife Yusor Abu-Salha and her sister Razan Abu-Salha were featured on a projector screen.

The auditorium was filled to capacity and many people were standing.

Adam Soltani of the Oklahoma Chapter of CAIR, who served as master of ceremonies for the gathering, welcomed the attendees and thanked them for coming. He told of how the murder of those young people has shaken the heart of all people of faith in the U.S.

Soltani also spoke of how the decedents were successful young people who were dedicated to both their faith and the society in which they lived, and how Deah Barakat, who was a dental student at the University of North Carolina, and his wife had provided dental care to homeless people in shelters in Chapel Hill. Barakat was also raising money on Facebook to finance an expedition to the Middle East where he planned to provide dental services to refugees from the Syrian conflict.

Brother Jamal, the Assistant Imam at the ISGOC, recited a verse from the Quran that spoke of how those who help others will be welcomed in paradise after their deaths.

Saad Mohammed of the ISGOC addressed the gathering and told them that they should pray for the murdered young people and their families, and that they should rise above hatred because only love can defeat hatred.

Buthima Jwayyed, who is the principal of the Mercy School that is operated by the Oklahoma City Islamic Society, spoke of how many of the young people who she sees at that school remind her of the murdered youth in that they are also high achievers who are also compassionate towards the less fortunate in American society.

Qasim Mazhar of the Mercy Youth Club and the Edmond Islamic Society told the attendees of the images being circulated via social media of Deah Barakat and his wife distributing toothbrushes to homeless people, and how the grief stricken parents of Yusor and Razan Abu Salha are speaking with pride in interviews about their daughters as successful students who cared deeply for others.

Nadia Enchassi, who recently graduated from the University of Oklahoma, urged those present to show by example to people in Oklahoma who are distrustful or fearful of Muslims that Muslims are people of faith and peace who are committed to improving society.

Khaled Al Zubi, who is a dental student at OU, told of how the murdered youth could serve as role models for all of American youth and that Muslims are known for their good works. He also reported that there are plans underway to fund a free clinic in the name of the three murdered students.

Sajida Ali, whose is an educator at Mercy School, told of how the greatest grief is the grief that parents feel for a lost child, and asked all of those present to pray for the parents of the slain young people.

The service ended with a prayer from Father John Borrego, an Episcopal priest from Edmond, who asked God to bring peace and understanding to the families of the decedents and all of those impacted by their deaths.

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Bill O'Brien

Bill O'Brien is an attorney based in Oklahoma City.

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