Muslims, Others Rally In Boston Against Violence

People of various faiths and backgrounds joined a Muslim group Friday in Boston in a candlelight vigil against violence, marking one month since 150 children and teachers were killed by Taliban gunmen at a school in Pakistan.

About 80 people gathered in below-freezing temperatures in Copley Square. They waved signs saying "not in my name" and "I stand against Shia genocide." Similar rallies were held in cities worldwide.

The Dec. 16 terrorist attack at the Army Public School in Peshawar was one of the worst in Pakistan. Seven militants scaled a wall and opened fire in an auditorium where students had gathered for an event. Most of those slain were children; another 121 students and three staff members were wounded.

At the vigil, participants also spoke out against the Jan. 7 killings of 12 people at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

"We need to send a message loud and clear that we are against violence," said Mario Moreira, who converted to Islam 30 years ago and now leads the Islamic Center of Boston in Wayland. "Islam means peace. Anyone who says they're Muslim and commits violence, we do not recognize them. They do not represent us in any way."

Beena Sarwar, one of the vigil's organizers and a Pakistan native who moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, four years ago, said the demonstrators also want the Pakistani government and the international community to take action against terrorist killers.

"We do not accept killing in the name of our religion," Sarwar said.

But even as the rallies to commemorate the Peshawar school attack took place, violent demonstrations broke out in Pakistan, Niger, Jordan and Algeria over a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad in the latest issue of Charlie Hebdo.


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