HARTFORD – Vigils across the country are showing support for Orlando, the victims, the survivors and their families, and it was no different in Connecticut.
A vigil at the state capitol in Hartford gathered a large crowd on Sunday night. People from the Muslim community, other religious backgrounds, the LGBT community and state representatives, all standing together against hate.
“This was a time for all of us to mourn together, to grieve together, because of what has happened,” Co-Chair of the American Muslim Peace Initiative Saud Anwar said. “I think we owe it to the people who have been murdered, brutally taken away from us, for all the communities to unite.”
The American Muslim Peace Initiative, took the initiative, to put the event together. They called first on the non-profit, True Colors, for support.
“As Americans we are one, there are people who are going to try to divide us but we remain one and strong," Anwar said.
The event was a time to honor the victims killed in Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub, a popular spot within the gay community.
“Bars are the one place throughout history that LGBT folks have been safe,” True Colors Executive Director Robin McHaelen said. “They went to the one place in the lifetime of our history, we've been able to be ourselves, they were murdered for being themselves.”
President Obama calling the shooting an act of hate and an act of terror.
“There are people who are bad people in every community and every place," Anwar said. "I think it's important for the communities within the communities to stand up against people who preach hatred in any shape or form."
The goal of the vigil is to honor the victims, but also to spread the message that love will conquer hate.
“Our lives should be focused more on love for each other, respect for each other and acceptance of each other,” he said.
Organizers say, in solidarity, we can do so much more.
“When I looked out at this crowd that was here, it was a rainbow, and that is what I think most fundamentally represents America and that`s the America that I want to live in,” McHaelen said.
There was no shortage of prayers in Connecticut the day tragedy hit Orlando.
The Newtown Action Alliance, the grassroots organization formed after the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, held a vigil for all supporters who reject hatred and gun violence, Sunday night.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community also prayed at a vigil in Meriden. The group sending condolences in a statement:
“The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community condemns the tragedy in Orlando that affected hundreds and offers sincere prayers for the victims and their families. This terrorist attack was not only inhumane but wholly un-Islamic, as Islam and the Holy Quran do not call for violence in any form towards homosexuals or any community unjustly. On the contrary, the Holy Quran teaches sanctity of each and every life and equates the murder of one innocent life as the slaughter of humanity. It further declares the Holy Prophet Muhammad as "a mercy to all people". Apart from it being wrong to take the law into your own hands in Islam, the religion of peace teaches love and loyalty to one's country of residence and obedience to the laws of the land. Spiritual leadership matters in guiding people away from extremism. The peace-loving Khalifa of Islam his holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad recently said "We can all see how satanic influences are leading to brutality and murder. Innocent people are being slaughtered and the perpetrators claim they will be rewarded with a place in heaven. .."
The Orlando shooting was during LGBT pride month, and Ramadan.