Muslim high school students organize vigil for San Bernardino shooting victims

AUSTIN, Texas-- Local organizations in Austin came together to show solidarity and honor the San Bernardino shooting victims and their families.

The event was organized by Muslim high school kids at Austin Peace Academy. Along with a candlelight vigil, they wanted to send a message to the community that terror has no religion.

Ted Hamilton is a social studies teacher at the academy and talks about the response from students.

“The kids, they're afraid, but that fear is actually driving them to take action to do something,” he said.

Some students spoke at the event. “These lit candles bright and flaming yet small and all extinguishable will burn these early winter evening with many emotions. A remembrance of others, so many others that have passed in so many disgusting crimes,” one student said.

Candles were lit, prayers were said, and the group held a moment of silence.

“Their efforts are symbolic of the religion of Islam. They will denounce any such attacks under all circumstances and this gives them the chance to show the community what they really believe in,” Hamilton said.

The group said they invited people of all different religions to the event, hoping to put political and social beliefs aside for a moment to show peace and to stand in solidarity.

“It's very moving to see them here and to put them to put the effort in. The kids might be afraid, they might be fearful, but they know why what they saw is wrong and they know why it has nothing to do with the religion,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton also said the students are hoping to help change the misconceptions of the Muslim reputation.

“Even kids as young as 6th grade, we were discussing in class their responses, what we can do to change this and what can we do to take action to show people that this is not what our religion stands for.”

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