Community holds vigil for worshippers of mosque set on fire


Hundreds of people of all religions or of no faith at all, came together Thursday night, praying after an arsonist set fire to the Diyanet Mosque.

The message was one of peace and forgiveness. Worshippers say their second home will not be knocked to the ground without rebuilding again and coming back even stronger.

This comes as News 8 obtains the first images showing the absolute devastation inside the mosque. Prayer rooms were decimated and ceilings and walls are torched and collapsing.

Irem Uzun and her family have been worshipping at the mosque her entire life

“I immediately broke down,” Uzun told News 8. “I’ve been here since I was six years old and we’ve created so many memories here. To see it all just go away within a couple minutes, is really hard.”

People of all ages, races and religions took a stand against hatred and bigotry, saying all are welcome.

“It doesn’t matter what you believe in, who you are because we’re all humans, we’re all people,” Elif Uzun added.

Six people including three children were inside the mosque when it went up in flames Sunday. The lead organizer of the vigil said those could have been his kids.

“There was one child here and she was in tears,” Fahd Syed said. “I believe she was in tears for the fire, but also the hate. I want them to know there are leaders out there that will stand up and heal their hearts.”

Related: Community coming together following arson at New Haven mosque

The message to the person responsible for burning down the mosque was stern.

“If you burn down any mosque, church or synogouge, we will rebuild it, every single time,” Alisha Strong said.

“You’re going to push us down to the ground but we’re still going to get back up,” Hakan Uzun added.

Temporary places of prayer are now set up in trailers in the parking lot so worshippers can pray and eat dinner with their family and friends during the holy month of Ramadan.

Two rewards totalling $12,500 are now being offered for information leading to an arrest of the arsonist.

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