Valley's Faithful React to Terror Attacks

November 27, 2008 12:27:27 AM PST
The terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, touched home for thousands of Indians and Muslims here in the valley.Dozens of people of all faiths gathered in Clovis tonight for an interfaith thanksgiving. For Hindus and Muslims, it was a chance to show that the attacks aren't creating animosity between the two faiths. The drumbeat at a Clovis church is a world away from the drumbeat of war the world heard out of Mumbai. Peace and gratitude are the messages at the Unitarian Universalist church, even from people with personal connections to the area under attack. "I've been there," said Fresno State professor Dr. Su Kapoor, who is a leader in Fresno's Hindu community. "I know the hotel."

Dr. Kapoor's in-laws live within walking distance of Mumbai's danger zone. The attacks by a group of Muslim extremists have him shocked and saddened. "These kinds of things are really not the right thing for all of us on the planet as human beings because they don't accomplish anything," said Kapoor. "They create more animosity and hatred actually. And hatred does not actually solve hatred."

Kapoor is a Hindu, but on Wednesday night, he shared a minute of silence with a fellow Indian of the Sikh faith, and a Muslim. Seyed Ali Ghazvini joined Kapoor in calling for peace. He expressed moral outrage at the acts of terrorism in Mumbai. "We believe they hijacked our faith," said I'm am Seyed Ali Ghazvini, of the Islamic Cultural Center. "Nothing justifies terrorism today, so we strongly condemn it."

The religious leaders believe friendships formed between people of different faiths can lead to understanding, and that will lead them away from the anger that breeds terrorism. "I still will call them my Muslim brothers and sisters because we are all brothers and sisters anyway," said Kapoor.

Wednesday night's interfaith service was scheduled months ago, but Muslims and Hindus said it was good timing because it was important to have a show of unity.

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