Hundreds of people from different faiths are standing in support of their Jewish neighbors by forming protective “rings of peace” around Toronto synagogues.
Following the recent synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, the National Council of Canadian Muslims orchestrated the event as a means of showing solidarity for Jewish communities during Jewish services that took place on Friday evening and Saturday morning.
Though they specifically worked in partnership with Islamic mosques to facilitate the gathering, they also welcomed and invited people of all faiths to join hands and stand shoulder-to-shoulder around 9 city synagogues.
“It’s about the sanctity of life,” Farhad Khadim, one of the founding directors of the Islamic Institute of Toronto, told HuffPost Canada by phone. “For everyone on earth, whether you are part of a certain religion or do not practice religion at all, a right to safety is paramount.
“It could be a mosque or a synagogue or a nightclub. It doesn’t matter. Life is sacred.”
This is not the first time that the Jewish and Muslim communities of Toronto have come together in opposition of tragedy; after there was a mosque shooting in Quebec City last year, Khadim said that he was given the courage to continue attending his religious services after Jews, Christians, and other non-religious participants formed protective rings around mosques across the country.
Since those simple gestures gave him the “peace and confidence” to continue attending services, he says that Canadian Muslims are now more than happy to return their favor.
Muslim-Americans are stepping up to the plate as well. Earlier this week, Islamic groups managed to raise over $200,000 for the shooting victims and their families. They have also volunteered to form similar “rings of peace” and they offer their supportive presence for Jewish individuals who may feel anxious about going out in public by themselves.