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Faith Communities Reach Out To Islamic Center Of Asheville After Shootings At New Zealand Mosques

Local faith communities gathered outside of the Islamic Center of Asheville Friday afternoon to show their support for the Muslim community in the wake of the mass shootings at mosques in New Zealand.   BPR's Helen Chickering spoke with supporters and members. 

During Friday afternoon prayers  a small crowd of Jews and Christians gathered outside the Center while a police car patrolled the parking lot.    Sam Kaplan was among the supporters. 

"When there’s been trouble in the past, even in our community in Asheville, Christians and Muslims came out to support the Jewish community, you may remember the bomb threats  against the Community Center of Jewish Asheville,” says Kaplan, “I could do no less for a member of our community who is feeling threatened.”

“When anyone of us is in pain we are all in pain,” says Todd Donatelli, Dean of the Cathedral of All Souls, “hearing the story of what happened I wanted to be with my Muslim sisters and brothers in this moment.”

Khalid Bashir, president of the Islamic Center of Asheville and members share their thoughts in the wake of the shooting at Mosques in New Zealand.

Khalid Bashir, president of the Islamic Center says they are thankful for the outreach of support.

“I think the community is obviously very saddened and traumatized, and they are trying to support each other,” says Bashir.   “These acts of violence and terrorism are something you see more and more.  We just have to be more prepared and support each other and pray for the ones who are not with us anymore. And obviously we are not trying to come on with strong reactions.  It’s just people are so sad right now, most of the people don’t know what to do and what to say, other than support each other.  Most of the people are at a loss"

Helen Chickering is a host and reporter on Blue Ridge Public Radio. She joined the station in November 2014.