Over 1,000 people joined Cal State University San Bernardino students and alumni on Monday evening for an emotional and tearful candlelight vigil to remember the 14 lives cut short by terrorists Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik last week.
“What you send into the lives of others, invariably comes right back into your own,” Pastor Tommy Morrow of the Victory Community Church said.
Pastor Sam Casey added that “sorrow shared is always nearly better than [experiencing] sorrow in solitude.”
Dr. Dany Doueri, a professor from the university’s Department of World Languages and Literature, spoke on behalf of the Muslim community.
“I don’t know how murderers can claim that they follow Islam when the Qur’an, the Muslim holy book, specifically says that whoever kills a soul it’s like he has killed all of humanity. And whoever saves a soul, [they] are like a person who has saved all of humanity,” he said.
Doueri expressed his hope that the community would join together to “fight ignorance with knowledge, to fight violence with compassion and to fight hate with love.” He completed his speech with a quote from Gandhi about non-violence.
Farook graduated from CSUSB in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in environmental health. Four of the people he murdered were also CSUSB graduates.
Dr. Doueri questioned whether he and the community had failed to educate their students enough to have prevented the tragedy that befell them last week.
The Islamic Society of Corona-Norco will reportedly hold a public prayer vigil at 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 11, at the society’s mosque located at 465 Santana Way, Corona.
“To take the life of another person is a great sin and causes a lot of pain. But the advice of Jesus to us, and today, is that we should forgive,” Pastor Hector Ramal, who hails from the Inland Seventh Day Adventist Church said on behalf of the Christian community.
Following a moment of silence, the crowd turned to a clock tower, where the bells rang 14 times, once for each of those killed the attack. A poster bearing the names and images of those lost had been placed on the wall for all to see and remember.
California State Assembly members Cheryl Brown (D-San Bernardino) and Marc Steinhorth (R-San Bernardino) were also present to pay their respects and stand in solidarity with their grieving constituents.
The school also provided “grief counselors” for those who needed them, clad in yellow vests to help attendees locate them.
Speaking on behalf of the Jewish community, Kevin Geiser, the Regional Director of Inland and Desert Hillel, pointed out that Monday evening was also the second night of Hanukkah–a Jewish holiday that tells the story of perseverance in the face of deep oppression and difficulty.
According to Jewish tradition, a miracle took place thousands of years ago in the holy Jewish temple in which a tiny bit of oil meant to last for just one day lasted for eight nights.
“And now we’ve come to a time with great tragedy, great sadness. Where we don’t have the mental or physical or emotional strength, our oil is only but one night. But together, I see hundreds of nights. Together I see the rest of this year and the rest of the time at this university lit well. And each and every one of you could be that.”
Geiser, whose friend was shot through the abdomen during the attack and is in the hospital recovering, added: “We must never let violence and other people’s fears make our views wrong.”
To close the vigil, sophomore Frenzel Maralit was asked to play classic Beatles song “Let It Be.”
“May we find a resolve to heal and end the plague of darkness,” Pastor Casey concluded. “Illuminating the path to brighter days for all.”