By Jade Mardirosian
On Sunday, the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, communities and people of all faiths across the country will gather to remember and reflect on the terrorist attacks that forever shaped history.
Waco will be one of those communities, as the Islamic Center of Waco prepares to hold a candlelight vigil in honor of the memory of the victims of 9/11 for the second consecutive year.
“[The vigil is held] to be a part of the community, bring people together and have an understanding [that] we are all together in this tragedy,” said Al Siddiq, president of the Islamic Center of Waco. “A lot of times the presumptions are made that the Muslim community is separated or isolated. I like people to know we are all together.”
Siddiq said the vigil on Sunday will include speakers from the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Ba’hai faiths, mirroring last year’s event.
The vigil will also include a moment of silence and a prayer for the victims of 9/11.
Pastor Dorisanne Cooper of Lake Shore Baptist Church will speak Sunday at the vigil. She also spoke last year.
“I was invited as the Christian speaker,” Cooper said. “I spoke about the Christian tradition of peace and our calling as followers of Jesus Christ to be peacemakers even and especially in the midst of the difficult and overwhelming times in which we live.”
Siddiq said the vigil had a very positive response last year and about 500 people attended.
Siddiq said he hopes that this year’s vigil will draw and even larger crowd, as well as promote an increased amount of interfaith dialogue.
Cooper said last year’s vigil was a special experience for those in attendance.
“It was a very meaningful time of our faith traditions coming together to share our hopes for peace and community. The Islamic Center is a model of hospitality and warmth,” Cooper said.
She also feels it is important for the Waco community and various places of worship to hold services like the vigil.
“Of particular significance [to our congregation] is that the service is being held at the Islamic Center,” Cooper said. “This speaks to their leadership in the community and the reality that different faiths can find common ground for the good and well-being of all. It also acts as a symbol against the notion that differences in our faith must somehow lead to conflict between us.”
Siddiq feels the Waco community is accepting and open to people of faiths other than their own.
“Central Texas has been very kind and compassionate to the Muslim community,” Siddiq said. “I have spoken in several churches since 9/11, speaking about Islam, and it has been well-received.”
The Islamic Center of Waco welcomes people of all religions and cultures to visit the center.
The vigil will be held from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Islamic Center of Waco, located at 2725 Benton Drive.