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California Faiths Support Muslim Friends

CALIFORNIA – Losing more than 100 family members in Nazi concentration camps, Marion Shapiro of Covina, California, was not willing to relive the experience of targeting people because of their faiths.

That’s why she decided to join people gathered outside of the University of La Verne Interfaith Chapel Tuesday night to speak against injustice, particularly targeting the Muslim community.

“I’m here to stand by my brothers and sisters of all different faiths and all different races,” Shapiro said before the vigil started, Daily Bulletin reported on Tuesday, November 29.

More than 150 people of different faiths, races and parts of the region came together to show support for various communities but particularly for the Muslim community.

Shapiro said she is prepared to stand up for Muslims, African-Americans and others if they or their rights are trampled on just as she would hope someone would do for her and fellow Jews.

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The vigil was sponsored by the University of La Verne’s Office of Religious and Spiritual Life and the Inland Valley Interfaith Network.

Planning the event over the past week, organizers gained a sense of urgency after several mosques in California received threatening letters that referred to Muslims as “vile” and “evil.”

The letters were vehemently condemned by Rev. Zandra Wagoner, university chaplain at ULV,

Wagoner said she felt great sadness but also “a deeper commitment to this ethic of compassion.”

However, “this deep sadness can’t be the last word,” Wagoner added.

Attends to Tuesday’s gathering included Radwan Hafuda, a board member of the Islamic Center of Claremont.

He said the letter “was filed with hate. It was filed with threats,” he said. However, Hafuda said he knows the letter does not represent the majority of those living in the United States.

“Our faith teaches us diversity is a source of strength and not weakness,” he said.

At one point during the vigil, two men on bicycles road past the gathering calling out “Trump, Trump, Trump.”