SUGARCREEK TWP., Ohio (WDTN) – Residents from all around the Dayton community came out to the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton Friday to show their support in the wake of tragic shootings at two mosques in New Zealand that left dozens dead.
“We just wanted to show solidarity, show kindness and love in times like this,” says Bellbrook resident Whitney Weydert.
For others, the images and news out of New Zealand struck a deeper chord.
“There are people in my community that are so much more affected by this personally than I am,” says Bellbrook resident August Szbao. “I wanted to come by and look at the people and show them that there are people that care about them.”
Nationally and locally, leaders are calling for action.
“We call on elected officials to commit themselves to opposing hate speech and hate violence in every form,” says Dr. Ayman Salem, Vice Chairman of the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton.
Dr. Salem says you can look at what happened in New Zealand, and even look at the damage done to a Dayton mosque recently, and see that hate is real. However, Dr. Salem believes that this is the time to show the power of love.
“The only way to stop it is the community to get together. People will start loving each other and trusting each other, having empathy. It doesn’t matter. Jews, Muslims, Christians, or no religion, it doesn’t matter. We are living in the same community,” says Dr. Salem.
In response to the attack in New Zealand, local law enforcement agencies from several communities will have a larger presence at area mosques.