ALEXANDER BROWN/THE HOYA Around 100 students joined to mourn the deaths of three Muslim students in a shooting at UNC Chapel Hill.
Around 100 students joined to mourn the deaths of three Muslim students in a shooting at UNC Chapel Hill.

Approximately one hundred students gathered at Red Square on Wednesday night for a candlelight vigil organized by the Muslim Students Association in commemoration of the deaths of three Muslim students at the University of North Carolina, who were shot at the university’s Chapel Hill campus on Tuesday over an alleged parking lot dispute.

The vigil, which was attended by members of different religious communities, began with a few moments of silence in remembrance of the lives of the victims Deah Barakat, Yusor Mohammed and Razan Abu-Salha. Afterwards, Muslim Students Association President Zahid Syed (COL ’16) and Imam Yahya Hendi recited Muslim prayers to mourn the deaths.

Hendi then delivered a speech emphasizing the need for the community to unite in the aftermath of such tragic events. Representatives from the Catholic, Protestant and Jewish chaplaincies also offered their respective prayers.

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn), who was the first Muslim elected to Congress, also attended the vigil after he gave a talk at Reiss Science Building on his experiences as a representative.

At the vigil, Ellison delivered a speech honoring the victims and praised the Georgetown community for coming together as one after the tragic incident.

Syed said that he was proud to see members from different religious groups joining together to show their support for the Muslim community.

“I thought that the vigil was very comforting to all those attending,” Syed said. “The event was planned with short notice, yet we had over a hundred attendees … I’m proud to say that I saw so many leaders [of student faith groups] at the vigil, and that the faith community, as well as the broader Georgetown community, really showed their support today.”

Syed also noted that students found the incident to be particularly relatable as the victims were similar-aged students.

“[Students were] shaken. A lot of students came to the realization that this could have very well happened to them,” Syed said. “The nature of this brutal murder … adds to the pain.”

On behalf of the Muslim community on campus, Syed offered his condolences to the families of the victims.

“These three individuals were such amazing people who dedicated their lives to helping others. This is a sad day for the Muslim community, but also for our nation and for humanity, as three great lives were taken,” Syed said. “Our hearts go out to the families of the victims and we pray that God showers their family and friends with the strength, patience and courage to help them deal with this tragedy.”

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