A Vigil for Hope

Dear Tulane Community:

This week I attended a campus vigil in honor of the victims of the March 15 terrorist attacks at the Al Noor and Linwood mosques in New Zealand.

Tulanians of all faiths gathered to pray and to take a stand against Islamophobia and the hatred-driven attacks we have seen against faith communities in Pittsburgh, Charleston and elsewhere throughout the country and world. That houses of prayer and sanctuaries for the soul, such as the Christchurch mosques, would be the target of terror violates all norms of humanity.

We gathered together as a Tulane family united in sorrow and solidarity with our Muslim community. We offered hope to one another. In the midst of a seemingly endless cycle of violence and hatred, we choose to focus on love, faith and tolerance. That is a choice we can make every day – as individuals and as a community. I am grateful for, and proud of, the Tulane Muslim Student Association for organizing this vigil, which included prayers and reflections from Islamic, Christian and Jewish leaders. The efforts of our students managed to bring a communal and life-affirming event out of so much loss and pain.

My heart goes out to the families of the victims and to all those affected by this senseless act of violence, especially the members of our Muslim community at Tulane. They have told me how often they see themselves reflected in the lives and experiences of those who were lost in these horrific attacks.

We hope, work and pray for a future where ignorance and violence are replaced by understanding, respect and reverence for all faiths and all human life.