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UNF holds Candlelight vigil for victims of recent terrorist attacks

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UNF holds Candlelight vigil for victims of recent terrorist attacks

Photo by Luiza Motta

Photo by Luiza Motta

Photo by Luiza Motta

Photo by Luiza Motta

Jordan Bebout

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Nearly 50 attendees gathered by candlelight at the Osprey Plaza on Nov. 16. Photo by Luiza Motta.

A river of tiny lights trickled through campus last night as community members mourned the victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut.

Students, community members, and religious leaders met at the Peace Plaza  on Nov. 16 for a Candlelight Vigil honoring the victims of the Nov. 12 attacks in Beirut, Lebanon and the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris, France.

As people congregated in the courtyard that hosts the Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr. statues, the Muslim Student Association members passed out candles to the attendees. MSA President Abubakr Hassan led about 50 attendees from the Peace Plaza to the Osprey Plaza in a silent vigil, where several Jacksonville religious leaders spoke to the group.

“This brought people together,” said Hassan. “I loved the essence of this gathering,” he said.

Imam Shamudeen of the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida led two prayers in Arabic and then translated them into English. He explained that the people who carried out the attacks last Friday do not represent Islam.

“I encourage all of you to stand up for justice,” he said.

After the religious leaders finished speaking, several audience members went up to the microphone and offered their perspectives.

“I hope these attacks won’t stop people from traveling and being adventurous,” said French major Kathryn Thompson.

UNF provost Earle Traynham and Vice President of Student and International Affairs Mauricio Gonzalez confirmed the safety of fifteen UNF students who are currently studying abroad, five of them being in France and none in Paris, according to a Special Edition Osprey Update.

But in light of the devastation and pain brought on by the attacks, the vigil put the university in a good light for healing and restoration.

“I saw the best version of UNF tonight,” said Claire Stern, a UNF senior who works at the Interfaith Center. “Tonight showed that UNF students aren’t apathetic, because this event was completely student-led.”

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UNF holds Candlelight vigil for victims of recent terrorist attacks