April 26, 2013

Mosque that suspect attended hosts interfaith service

The Associated Press

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The Cambridge mosque that one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects attended held an interfaith service Friday, during which leaders urged the community not to give into fear and mistrust.

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Sheik Ishmael bows his head in prayer at the Islamic Society of Boston mosque in Cambridge, Mass., on Friday.

Photos by The Associated Press / Robert F. Bukaty

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A boy stands next to his father during a prayer service at the Islamic Society of Boston mosque in Cambridge, Mass., on Friday.

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The service at the Islamic Society of Boston mosque included reflections by a Muslim imam, Christian minister and Jewish rabbi.

Bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed last week in a shootout with police, lived near the mosque and regularly attended for prayer.

But officials there have said they had no inkling of any violent, radical views.

On Friday, assistant Imam Ismail Fenni told attendees at an afternoon service that the taking of innocent life is a "catastrophe" that will be punished in this life and the next.

He urged the community to come together in the bombings' aftermath.

"We cannot allow ourselves to succumb to the fear and to the mistrust that was wished upon us," he said. "We know we have the collective strength to overcome such destructive wishes."

Rabbi Victor Reinstein of Nehar Shalom Community Synagogue in Boston prayed, "Let not our fear give rise to hatred, of finger-pointing and blame."

The Rev. Dan Smith of the First Church in Cambridge said "ignorant media coverage" that's cast blame on the Islamic Society of Boston is heart-breaking. He said his congregation has been praying that the mosque would be protected from the harm and indignity that comes from misunderstanding and fear.

"We promise you that we will not get tired of showing the world our solidarity with you," he said.

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