Calgarians join in prayer for victims of Kenya attack

CALGARY – Thursday’s horrific attack on a university in Kenya that left more than 140 people dead has inspired members of Calgary’s local Muslim community to honour the victims in its weekly prayer service.

Calgary Imam Syed Soharwardy spoke about the attack by the Al-Shabab militant group in his Friday sermon at the Genesis Centre of Community Wellness. A moment of silence was also observed for the victims.

“These are people who are extremists that call themselves Muslim, but the overwhelming amount of Muslims around the world do not accept these people as Muslims,” said Soharwardy.

“Today is a day of solidarity with Christians around the world. Today is a day of solidarity with the Christians that suffered yesterday in Kenya, and today is the day of solidarity between Christians and Muslims against terrorism and violence.”

READ MORE: Christians targeted in al-Shabab attack on Kenya university that killed 147

Asmat Khan, who attended the service in Calgary, said people need to be more understanding and work together to fight such extremism.

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“We need to be…more close to one another to fight terrorism,” said Khan. “That’s our enemy – Muslims and Christians are brothers.”

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Celina Thibault, who attended the service so her children would have a better understanding of the situation in Kenya, said adults could learn something from the younger generation.

“The school they go to–they’re very accepting. There’s Christians, there’s Catholics, there’s atheists…they all get along,” she said.

"We should be more like children."

The Islamic extremists slaughtered 148 people at a college in northeast Kenya as they shouted “God is great.” The attack appears to have been planned extensively, with militants targeting a site where Christians had gone to pray, survivors said Friday.

In the capital of Nairobi, relatives of the victims went to a morgue where some bodies had been airlifted from the campus of Garissa University College in eastern Kenya. Screaming and crying family members were assisted by Red Cross staffers, who tried to console them.

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The attack was the worst in Kenya since the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy by al-Qaida that killed more than 200 people.

Members of Calgary’s local Muslim community honoured the Kenya attack victims in a weekly prayer service April 3, 2015. Jenna Freeman / Global News

With files from Global’s Jenna Freeman and The Associated Press

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