Worshipers at SF mosque react to deadly New Zealand shooting attacks
SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - At the Islamic Society of San Francisco, the largest mosque in the city, leaders say in light of what happened in New Zealand, they are now considering hiring armed guards for protection.
Hundreds of Muslims came for the important afternoon Jumah, or Friday prayer. For Muslims here and everywhere, it was a difficult day.
The massacre in two New Zealand mosques has been heart wrenching.
"Somehow someone walks in and kills them. Not only kills them, but streams it online.That's shocking," said Muhammad Alabi, president of the Islamic Society of San Francisco.
Those there say no one should ever have to be afraid to come to a place of worship.
"I will not be afraid. I will not be frightened by what happens anywhere. I'm going to pursue my religion and I am going to say my prayers," said worshiper Fauzia Khan.
People here say they are praying for the dead and the injured. Friday is a holy day when mosques throughout the world are at their most crowded.
Mikail Ali, a San Francisco deputy police chief, and Muslim said he couldn't sleep Thursday night.
"To see that level of human indifference to life. And I say that as a replacement for a word like evil," said Ali.
One of the most difficult parts is how to explain the inexplicable to a child.
"It's a matter of reminding them that even in the face of such tragedy there are still wonderful people in the world," said Ali.
The Muslim community was not alone in their grief. Representatives from different faiths joined them at the mosque as a show of unity.
"What happened in New Zealand is an example of the divisiveness in our country. And we must stand shoulder to shoulder," said Michael Pappas, Executive Director of the San Francisco Interfaith Council.
The Muslim faith teaches forgiveness. Is that possible in this case?
"He's forgiven. But he must answer to a higher authority," said Alabi.
San Francisco police have stepped up patrols around the half dozen mosques in the city. But police say they are not seeing any copycat-style threats.