New Zealand shooting: Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California thanks those opposing hate in Oakland

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- The Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California in Oakland is mourning following the shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. But they also found a way to celebrate Saturday and say thank you to the people opposing hate.

The shootings have left much of the world shaken.

"The tolerance for hate in our society today that starts frankly at the top, cannot be shut down fast enough in my mind," Representative Jackie Speier said.

RELATED: Support grows, security heightened at Islamic Centers across the South Bay

Speier championed New Zealand's prime minister's vow to change the country's gun laws.

"Our country has got to get a reality check about how violent we are as a society," she said.

Sadness and a call to action could be found all over the world on Saturday, but at the Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California, there was prayer, food, and children playing during it's celebration of the Persian New Year.

"People should come and enjoy this first day or arrival of spring, a sunny day and plenty of food," ICCNC board chairman Payman Amiri said.

RELATED: Man hailed as hero for attacking mosque gunman, chasing him away

The event was pre-planned and also seemed to serve as a thank you celebration for Oakland. Amiri said 50 bouquets of flowers and cards from strangers filled the center on Friday.

"It especially touched our children and kids," Farsi Program Principal J.P. Novin said. "When they saw the pouring of love in the community, for them, they really felt a part of the American fabric."

The center is still remaining vigilant and had extra security on Saturday, but leaders here tell ABC7 News Oakland makes them feel safe.
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