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Local mosque in Waterbury holds prayer service in response to New Zealand tragedy

WATERBURY - As the nation mourns the innocent lives who were tragically taken away in Thursday’s mass shootings in New Zealand, people all over the country have been reacting to the senseless act including Connecticut.

The Albanian-American Muslim Community Center held an interfaith prayer service to send one message - everyone is all equal no matter what background you are from.

“I felt horrible ... shocked,” said Imam Gazmene Aga of the Albanian-American Muslim Community Center.

Officials said the tragedy left at least 49 people killed. One of those arrested was someone who had extremist, violent views.

“It’s hard to understand that some one person’s hatred boils up to such a point that they would go into a place of worship and kill people while they’re praying. It’s just incomprehensible,” said Associate Minister James Robertson of the First Congregational Church.

Members with the community center had a prayer to start off the service and some shared their condolences and sadness by saying this massacre should bring people all religions closer.

“This happened in a mosque. It’s not much different from happening in a school and we know that this is happening in all of United States of America so this is not just a problem for faiths but it’s a problem for society,” added Aga.

Jade Stoltz is with the Jewish Federation of Western Connecticut and she said she knows all too well of what it feels like to be hated and demoralized.

“We have all been victims of terror, of mass murder of threats and this is not going to stop our way of life. There are many more people who are concerned with unity and community building,” said Stoltz.

This was a very brief and small prayer service. A spokesperson with Mayor Neil O’Leary’s office attended as well as members with various organizations.

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