Faith communities around Connecticut came together to show support in the wake of the mass shootings at two mosques in New Zealand.
Representatives from different religions attended prayer at the Berlin Mosque on Friday, something Reza Mansoor, the President of the Islamic Association of Greater Hartford, said is helpful in times like this.
“So yes we are used to it sadly, but its still always very difficult," he said. "And so what we’ve done today is we’ve invited leaders from other faith communities because we like to be with friends when we are hurting, and so I sincerely believe that the rabbis and the reverends that are here are friends with the Muslim community that we’ve invited to share our grief with.”
Joel Lohr, President of the Hartford Seminary addressed the worshippers, and called on those of Christian faith to provide love in this time.
“Our scripture doesn’t ask, it commands, that we love the stranger,” Lohr said.
Rabbi Herb Brockman from Hamden has collaborated with Mansoor in the past to teach their students about each other’s faith.
“We lost brothers and sisters in New Zealand, it’s just unimaginable," he said. "And so to be with them, to stand with them and to know that they have the support not only within their own community but in the larger community that this is all our loss.”
Mansoor believes the educational efforts that he and Brockman have been practicing are part of the way to address hate crimes like the one that happened in Christchurch.
“Education is the solution to all of this," said Mansoor. "Knowing your neighbor, knowing your friend because all of us ultimately are here to make America better, we all believe in the American dream that we should make this nation the best it can with the tapestry of different faiths and different colors.”
New Zealand's prime minister has said the country will change its gun laws after 49 people were killed in the nation's deadliest-ever mass shooting.