New Yorkers Gather For Vigil After Attack
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
And last night, the eight victims of the attack were honored in a candlelight vigil. And WNYC Fred Mogul was there.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Hernan Diego Mendoza, Argentina.
FRED MOGUL, BYLINE: A cell phone store owner named Zaid Naji made the long trip from the Bronx to lower Manhattan to stand and hold a flickering electronic candle and to be with his fellow Muslims, with people of other faiths, and with attendees who have no religion at all.
He said America's strength is its tolerance among peoples, and he contrasted that with his native Yemen and other parts of the Middle East where violent conflict is all too common.
ZAID NAJI: We left countries that things like this are normal. We are here to tell the world this is what destroys communities.
MOGUL: Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist and Sikh leaders gave speeches and blessings and led the crowd in song. Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum said all traditions mandate loving one's neighbor as oneself. And she castigated anyone who exploits the attack for political gain.
SHARON KLEINBAUM: They are the ones who are blaspheming God's name.
MOGUL: Bahij Chancey was a lifelong friend of one of the victims, Nicholas Cleves. They grew up together in Manhattan, and their families often rented a summer house on the Long Island Sound. Chancey brought a picture of Cleves to the vigil and set it down next to candles and flowers.
BAHIJ CHANCEY: He was a really, really sweet guy. He had a good sense of humor. He was a thinker and very curious.
MOGUL: Chancey said he was still trying to wrap his mind around what had happened and wasn't sure when he'd get over the shock. For NPR News, I'm Fred Mogul in New York. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.