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US Grieving Muslims Seek Spiritual Healing

Published: 27/04/2013 08:18:12 PM GMT
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CAIRO - Saddened and shaken by the latest attacks, Boston Muslim congregants returned to their mosques, seeking spiritual healing for the grief and rage that bewildered them after the Marathon bombing.“We come [together] a (more)

CAIRO - Saddened and shaken by the latest attacks, Boston Muslim congregants returned to their mosques, seeking spiritual healing for the grief and rage that bewildered them after the Marathon bombing.

“We come [together] after a horrendous tragedy has befallen our city,” Imam William Suhaib Webb, spiritual leader of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center in Roxbury, was quoted by Boston Globe on Saturday, April 27.

“Our sacredness has been violated. And a week later, we find our own community under a tremendous amount of pressure,” Webb added in his sermon at the city's largest mosque, capturing the sense of lamentation, bewilderment, and indignation his congregation felt.

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At least three people were killed and scores injured when two explosions rocked near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 14.

The attacks have drawn widespread condemnations from Muslims inside the United States and around the world.

Friday was the local Muslim community's first opportunity to come together for Friday prayer since the bombings.

A week before, a manhunt forced a citywide shutdown, precipitating an almost unheard-of cancellation.

Congregants sought healing during Friday prayer at the Roxbury mosque following the Marathon bombings.

Many Muslims said they found a new tension in the air.

“You're kind of getting those looks again,” said Omar Abdelkader, a 23-year-old student at Northeastern University.

Webb spoke of the powerful emotions experienced by community members — the surgical resident who rushed to help the wounded; the badly wounded Saudi woman who almost lost her legs; the foreign student who confided to Webb, “I just think the whole world is against me.”

But, the imam said, “the dark clouds that are so intimidating, they bring with them the gift of rain.”

Same Message

A similar message of support was conveyed at different Islamic centers.

“Today, we insist to our neighbors that we Muslims are people of peaceful covenant,” Imam Ibrahim Rahim of the Yusuf Mosque in Brighton told his congregation.

“As our neighbors, your blood is sacred, your lives are sacred. No one has a right to kill any one of us for any reason!” he said.

“We are against senseless hate and violence, as is Allah, Muhammad (peace be upon him), and the Holy Qur'an.”

And at the Islamic Society of Boston in Cambridge, Ismail Fenni, an assistant imam, told the 100 or so people gathered that God would offer grace to those who respect the sanctity of life and deliver his harshest punishment to those who destroy it.

“As we live through this difficult and trying time after the tragedy that has touched us all, we must remind one another of the need to come closer and the need to help and care for one another,” he said.

At Roxbury Islamic center, Imam Webb pointed to the 100 or so supportive e-mails he said he received from neighbors, as well as others around the country.

He also thanked clergy of other faiths who had stepped forward to support the local mosques, including Rabbis Ronne Friedman and Jeremy S. Morrison of Temple Israel and the Rev. Burns Stanfield, pastor of the Fourth Presbyterian Church in South Boston and president of the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization.

“We stand with you — we are one Boston,” Friedman told the congregation.

Touching many of the emotions they have encountered last week, Webb's sermon moved some congregants into tears.

“This is the first time I've come to the ISBCC and seen people not having big smiles,” tearful Passant Ahmed, a dentist and mother of two children from Arlington, said referring to the Roxbury mosque.

“I can feel the sorrow. People are grieving.”

Reproduced with permission from