Pakistani Community of Orange County Holds Candlelight Vigil
The Pakistani Community of Orange County held a candle light vigil on Wednesday, December 17, 2014 at 5:30pm on the corners of Alton Pkwy and Culver in Irvine, CA. The vigil was in response to the attack by the Taliban on a military school in Peshawar, Pakistan leaving 142 children and 9 staff members dead. “This attack and all others that our community has been witnessing in the past few years against innocent lives in unacceptable”, stated Farrah N. Khan, one of the organizers of the Irvine Vigil. “We, as a people, can never come to terms with violence against innocent people”.
The group gathered to pray and educate the local community on the tragedy that occurred overseas. “The goal of the vigil is to show solidarity for justice whether it be in the US or abroad”, stated Ms Khan. The vigil was attended by a little over 100 people and many from the Orange County interfaith community. Reverend Kent Doss, Sudha Iyer (representing the Hindu community), and Minu Singh (representing the Sikh community), all spoke to the crowd and stood in solidarity.
Sentiments were shared throughout the evening. “The Taliban are like cancer, we need to eradicate them completely. Even if one malignant cell is left untreated, it multiplies to spread again. The Pakistan Army has to keep its resolve until terrorists are completely eliminated”, stated Salman Naqvi of Irvine. “No religion or ideology justifies or condones the bloodshed of innocent human beings, let alone children. The cold blooded murder of these children has made it imperative, urgent and incumbent upon the army, the law makers and the people of Pakistan to uproot this evil in its entirety and with permanence” proclaimed Adeela Ahsan of Irvine. “It’s heartbreaking that so many children lost their lives. Our prayers and love go out to their families. A warning to the Taliban: you have tainted your souls with the blood of martyrs. Like David defeated Goliath; your downfall is impending,” said Nazish Zaman of Irvine. “What it all boils down to is this; this is NOT about religion, this is NOT about Islam, this IS about a group of people who have become so hardened and misguided that they have lost sight of the value of human life. One outcome of horrific acts of this nature must be that we as citizens of this world must keep in mind to always value the sanctity of human life and keep peace and empathy in our hearts,” stated Rani Hussein of Anaheim.
The vigil ended with a prayer and moment of silence as the participants stood with their candles held high, the only sounds to be heard were those of the honking cars showing their support. Many that gathered stated that they felt a sense of calm as they stood side by side. “Our prayers go out to the victims and their families, this wasn’t just a random act of violence, it was a pre-planned act of terror against innocent children. We’re demanding the government of Pakistan to take action,” stated Ms Khan.
Many from the community attended the vigil organized by the Pakistan Consulate in Los Angeles on Friday.