Ranya Ibrahim and Gowiria Yousif hand out signs outside the Muslim Association of Puget Sound mosque in Redmond. Ashley Hiruko/staff photo

Ranya Ibrahim and Gowiria Yousif hand out signs outside the Muslim Association of Puget Sound mosque in Redmond. Ashley Hiruko/staff photo

Vigil event at Redmond mosque brings in 1,000-plus crowd

The event also included a teach-in to school attendees on Islamophobia and its root causes.

The Muslim Community Interfaith Vigil opened with an introduction. Not from the speaker, but one among neighbors, sitting closely packed together at the Muslim Association of Puget Sound (MAPS) in Redmond. The room grew loud with people shaking hands and comrades sharing thoughts.

Muslims, Christians, Jews and faith leaders from around King County joined together for a vigil at the Redmond mosque on March 18 following the terrorist shooting attacks at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Fifty people were killed and 50 more were injured after the assailant opened fire on Muslims worshiping during the Friday prayer on March 15.

“You have broken many, many hearts…and you have left the hate growing,” Sheikh Abdirahman Kaariye of the Islamic Center of Bothell said at the vigil, addressing the shooter. “But what you have also done, you have brought us closer together and strengthened our faith and resolve. And in the coming weeks, more people will turn up in the mosques, a place you hate so much.”

When word spread of last week’s shooting, MAPS was flooded with support in the forms of flowers and messages of solidarity from elected officials and community members.

This support continued at this week’s vigil. There was police presence outdoors as people flooded into the mosque long before the 7 p.m. start time. More than 1,000 people showed up for the teach-in — so many that the doors had to be closed and late arrivals were turned away from the event.

Outside of the mosque, signs were handed out, reading, “We stand with our Muslim neighbors.”

Many of those who spoke conveyed this thought.

“Until we decided that we will not shed tears for some people and not for others, our faith is incomplete — and perhaps inauthentic,” said Rev. Kelle Brown of Plymouth Congregational Church in Seattle. “For where there is pain, we must remember that we are citizens of the world. We are global citizens and we are to be in solidarity with all people.”

Rabbi David Basior of Seattle’s Kadima Reconstructionist Community wanted to convey the Jewish community’s love and embrace for “their Muslim siblings.”

“We see you. We are with you. We are you,” he said. “I stand here today to tell you my Muslim siblings that we are one and none of the heinous, violent acts of racism and xenophobia will keep us from pursuing a ‘we’ that includes us all.”

Parallels were drawn from speakers, comparing the Christchurch shooting to the Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue incident. The support the Jewish community received then was being reciprocated now.

“These forms of hate and bigotry are all connected,” said Aneelah Afzali, executive director of MAPS’ American Muslim Empowerment Network. “We have this common enemy of white nationalism, hate rhetoric. This hate speech leads to hate actions and the consequences we’re seeing today.”

But it wasn’t solely thoughts and prayers at the event. The latter half of the evening was reserved for Afzali’s anti-Islamophobia teach-in and call to action. She schooled attendees on root causes for Islamophobia and the steps needed to eliminate it.

More steps will happen later this spring. The Redmond mosque will have an open house in April and other events to follow for people to get to know their Muslim neighbors. Afzali hopes this will help to combat Islamophobia.

“The (attack) is something that we will respond to with solidarity, unity, love and hopefully taking action, so we go beyond thoughts and prayers and solidarity…to make sure we don’t have more of these horrific atrocities,” Afzali said.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@redmond-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.redmond-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

During one point of the event, following prayer, attendees held up signs of support. Ashley Hiruko/staff photo

During one point of the event, following prayer, attendees held up signs of support. Ashley Hiruko/staff photo

Rev. Kelle Brown of the Plymouth Congregational Church in Seattle, called for people to join in solidarity. Ashley Hiruko/staff photo

Rev. Kelle Brown of the Plymouth Congregational Church in Seattle, called for people to join in solidarity. Ashley Hiruko/staff photo

More in News

The Enumclaw Health and Rehabilitation Center, which is located by St. Elizabeth hospital, a senior living community, and a nursing home. File photo
Inslee lifts visitation ban at long-term care facilities

Starting Wednesday, a four-phase plan will allow restrictions at nursing homes to gradually be relaxed.

Screenshot from Gov. Jay Inslee’s press conference on Aug. 5, 2020.
Inslee says schools in virus hot spots should stay closed

King County among high-risk counties; several school districts will have remote learning in the fall.

King County Election headquarters in Renton on Aug. 4 for the primary election. Haley Ausbun/staff photo
Inslee and Culp lead governor race; incumbent Dems ahead for Congress | Statewide results

Early results for governor, state schools chief, attorney general and more.

Democrats dominate King County legislative races | Election results

Here are the latest results for King County legislative candidates in the… Continue reading

King County Election headquarters in Renton, on primary Election Day, Aug. 4. Voters can return their ballot and register in-person at the election headquarters and other voting centers by 8 p.m. Haley Ausbun/Staff photo.
Still time to vote in August primary

Turn in your ballot at any voting center by 8 p.m.

Inslee mask graphic
Free mask event for King County residents, Aug. 4 in Bellevue

The drive-thru distribution event will offer two masks per person

Primary election 2020: Who will emerge as Inslee’s challenger?

Voting ends Tuesday in an election without big rallies and fund-raisers and face-to-face debates

Sex ed, local control at heart of race for WA state schools chief

Incumbent Chris Reykdal faces five foes who argue he’s pushing too many state policies on school districts.

Inslee warns of stay home order as COVID cases rise

The governor urges young people, who are not getting infected the most, to curb their social habits.

Most Read