Mosque shooting unites community

Published: Jul. 8, 2016 at 6:18 PM CDT
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The community came together Friday to show support for the Islamic Community of Bryan-College Station following gunfire at the mosque early Thursday.

Nimrah Riaz and Shumila Zaidi have grown up at their local mosque. The five bullet holes they found in the building Friday left them shaken.

"When I first heard that, I was in shock,” said Nimrah Riaz.

"I'm going to cry it was really sad. My dad was here and he is the most peaceful man in the world. He has given me so much wisdom,” said Shumila Zaidi.

Dan De Leon is a local pastor who coordinated a rally at the mosque in response to the shooting.

"Hatred and violence in the form of gun violence on this mosque is to inflict violence on our entire neighborhood,” said De Leon.

More than a hundred people stood side by side surrounding the mosque during afternoon prayers. Many of the participants were not Muslim but rather supporting their neighbors.

"This won't be tolerated by this community,” said De Leon.

The outpouring of support has lifted the spirits of many in the Islamic community.

"I had so many messages to respond to reply to of support, and that was just so overwhelming of how much people gave to us in this community,” said Riaz.

The day was filled with strangers coming together, sending a message of peace and tolerance.

"I think we need to have a conversation with people who think differently than we do, and help them see that we are just like everyone else,” said Zaidi.

As the mosque repairs their damage, faith remains intact, and friendships between the center and its community are growing stronger.

"There was a lot more good that came out of this, than the hate that prevailed,” said Riaz.

College Station PD and the FBI are still investigating the incident.