SOUTH BEND, Indiana - Supporting her fellow American Muslims, Melissa Lentine has organized a candlelight vigil in the city's Islamic center to remember the US ambassador to Libya who was killed in angry reactions to anti-Islam film.
"We have common goals," Lentine told ABC 57 on Friday, September 21.
"Our highest ideals are found in different religions, and they're kind of universal."
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Ten days ago, US ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens was killed while rushing from the US consulate building stormed by Libyan protestors in Benghazi.
Libyan deputy prime minister Mustafa Abu Shagour condemned the killing of the US diplomats as a cowardly act.
Ansar al-Sharia Islamist group was linked to the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, although the group denied involvement.
The killing came hours after angry protestors scaled the walls of the US embassy compound in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, in protest at a film insulting Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him).
The film triggered protests in several countries around the world, which left at least 14 people dead.
Though the US ambassador's death was widely condemned by US Muslims, the religious minority feared retaliation from non-Muslims.
Lentine was one of the American non-Muslims who rushed to ease people's fears about Islam, and the local Muslim community.
The candle vigil was attended by people from all across Michiana in Indiana northeastern state who gathered to condemn that attack, and the other violent outbursts that have touched off in the Middle East.
They also wanted to preach religious tolerance.
"I'm hoping we reach somebody that was on the fence," she said.
At the mosque vigil, Muslims assured the community that what happened in Libya was a national tragedy, confirming that Islam preaches peace, not violence.
"That does not represent Islam," Raghid Kadi, a member of Islamic Society of Michiana, said.
"That represents a certain group of people who have the least understanding of what Islam is all about."
Kadi and other members are hoping Friday's vigil would help people to learn about other cultures.
He added that the attacks were carried by people who do not understand the tenets of Islam and message of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him)
"I think most people are educated enough to realize what's good and what's bad," Kadi said.
"Bad people are present in any group."
While condemning the provocative film, Muslim leaders around the world have denounced attacks on foreign diplomatic missions, calling for a measured response to the movie.
Saudi Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al-Sheikh said Saturday that attacks on foreign embassies over the film run counter to the peaceful teachings of Islam.
"Such acts damage the Muslim religion, are not permitted by God and are incompatible with the teachings of the Prophet, he said.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net