KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The Muslim Community of Knoxville hosted a candlelight vigil in honor of the slain children in Pakistan.
On Wednesday the Associated Press reported that a Taliban gunmen stormed a military-run school in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar on Tuesday, killing dozens before Pakistani officials declared a military operation.
“It hurts just like our own family has been hurt. We feel that way,” said Nazmia Malik of Knoxville.
The candlelight vigil took place at Annoor Academy of Knoxville. Malik was one of about 100 people. The purpose of the vigil was to pray for the families dealing with death in Peshawar.
“What has happened day before yesterday has totally shattered us and has given us so much grief. We cannot imagine how their families are bearing this pain,” said Malik.
Even though some of her family lives in another part of Pakistan, she still has concerns. Others who grew up there like Dr. Syed Amer are in shock over what happened.
“It was unimaginable growing up there for 27 years that I would ever have a day like this. It not only broke our hearts, I think it shattered them,” said Amer.
Children at the vigil held up signs that read “Prayers for Peshawar.” It’s to comfort the families dealing with loss.
Those in Knoxville like Malik are hoping the violence ends there so that other families never have to go through this.
“I want to have hope. That’s what I want to have. I want to have hope because we want everyone to experience this peace that God has given us,” said Malik.
Both people who spoke with WATE 6 On Your Side said they have received several calls from people in the Knoxville area to see how they are doing. They said that support is helping them cope with the horrific incident.
Along with dozens killed, more than 100 students, three staff members, and nine Pakistani military officials were injured.