Rutgers students host vigil in recognition of Pakistan attack
More than 70 people were killed Sunday in Lahore. Another 341 were injured in a terrorist attack carried out in the second-largest city in Pakistan. A majority of the victims in the Taliban-led attack were women and children, according to the New York Times.
The attackers claimed to be targeting Christians, according to the Times. But Pakistani officials said followers of multiple religions made up the victims, including Muslims.
Farrah Ahmed, president of the Pakistani Student Association at Rutgers, organized a vigil to recognize the victims of the bombing on Tuesday night.
"What happened was a terrible thing, it happened on Easter Day," the School of Arts and Sciences senior said. "Just thinking about all the people that died due to this act of terrorism is frustrating and upsetting that it keeps happening."
Twenty-nine victims were children, reflecting about one-third of the total, Ahmed said. While the attackers may profess to be Muslims, their actions do not match the religion's tenets.
"The people that would do this, they're monsters," she said. "I keep crying because I think of all the children who passed away. These aren’t humans that are doing this, these are monsters, and the monsters are never going to win."
Taufeeq Ahamed, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, said he felt "betrayed" to learn that the attack was carried out in the name of Islam.
"I feel betrayed to know that the religion that my family centers itself on, that my parents and sister practice, that people may be out there trying to use this to justify their actions, to commit mass murder of civilians, to kill innocent women and children," he said.
Islam is a faith centered around peace, he said. It is "unacceptable" that anyone could justify an attack on civilians through it.
The world's population needs to work together to prevent future attacks from happening, Ahmed said.
"We have to stop their ignorance, we have to stop the hate," Ahmed said. "We have to stand together and think about those who survived."
The prophet Mohammed, founder of Islam, actually wrote a letter condemning those who attack Christians, said Mujtaba Qureshi, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences senior.
Churches and those who attend them were to be safe from attack, according to the letter.
"When I found out about what happened, I was angry, I was sad, I didn’t care about how anyone else in the world reacted because I was sad, and today I’m still sad," Qureshi said. "I’m sad that people passed away, that people had to die in the name of the religion that I am so proud of."
He quoted Mohammed again, saying that those who kill may as well have attacked all of humanity. But he wanted to focus on the second half of the statement, he said.
"Anyone who saves a life, it is as if they have saved all of humanity," he said.
The students at the vigil are among those who can help others, he said.
More people attended than Ahmed expected, she said. She hopes the event will inspire more discussion about the attack and its aftermath.
The vigil ended with a prayer asking that people not forget the victims of the attack or the suffering of others worldwide.
"If we all stand together, if we don’t think about the hate, if we don’t pinpoint one religion, one culture, if we stand together as humanity, then we shall overcome this," Ahmed said. "Humanity must stand together."
Nikhilesh De is a School of Engineering junior. He is the news editor at The Daily Targum. Follow him on Twitter @nikhileshde for more.