Unity touted at Bay Area vigils in wake of mosque shooting in New Zealand

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Several vigils were held Saturday in the Bay Area for the Muslim community in the wake of the deadly mosque shootings in New Zealand. The common sentiment was not fear, but a constant unity from across different religious groups

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The Muslim community across the world has been mourning the death of 50 people who were killed in a shooting at two mosques Friday.

"When this happened you think you are alone. But when all these congregations come and support you, you feel stronger and safe and that you have a big family who supports. You have big hopes for the world," said Muslim leader Mahmut Altun.

A Sunnyvale resident adds, "In our grief and sorrow and our condolences to not only the people of Christchurch in New Zealand, but all people of faith around the world."

Altun said the outpouring of support and love from multiple religious groups has helped them to feel safe. Recently, they received an envelope with letters of support from several religious groups.

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Altun: "A lot of supportive letters, around 35 letters we have here from the Jewish and the Christian brothers and sisters."
Pena: "Have you read them and what do they say?"
Altun: "I read the letters and they say they are here for us as a family and they say accept them as a family member."

Mayor Larry Klein from Sunnyvale attended one of the vigils and said, "Tragedy that is happening and the concept of hate and such nationalistic hate against a certain community is unthinkable and that's why we all came together from a stand point of peace."

In San Jose, outside of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library, dozens of people lit candles and prayed for those who were killed.

The FBI in the Bay Area has made themselves accessible for local mosques.

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"For us to be as engage as possible in the different communities obviously with the threats that are out there. It's important for us to support and provide assistance and a point of contact for times in need," said Sanjay Virmani from the FBI San Francisco Bureau.

Another vigil is scheduled for Sunday in Pleasanton and Monday in Santa Clara University.
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