The Charlotte area Muslim community is joining with supporters from other religions for a vigil Friday to mourn the victims in the San Bernardino shootings and other recent terror attacks.
It will start at 6:15 p.m. outside the Fretwell Building on the campus of UNC Charlotte, 9201 University City Blvd.
Participants at the interfaith vigil, which is sponsored by local Muslims and UNC Charlotte’s Center for Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Studies, will also denounce “the demonization of an entire religion for the acts of a few criminals,” according to a news release announcing the event.
Authorities continue to investigate the killing of 14 people at an office party in San Bernardino by a husband and wife who had become radicalized in jihad and, at least in her case, had pledged allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State.
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The Charlotte vigil also comes in the wake of a call by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for a “total shutdown” on Muslims entering the United States.
Trump’s plan – an echo of what evangelist Franklin Graham proposed months ago – was condemned as un-American by many political and religious leaders, including other GOP presidential candidates and top Republican officeholders.
But a new Public Policy Polling survey of North Carolina found that Trump has achieved his highest level of support yet in the Tar Heel State, with 33 percent of GOP voters backing him. The runner-up in the PPP poll: Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, with 16 percent.
The Raleigh-based PPP also found that Trump’s hard stand against Muslims was popular with his North Carolina supporters. The idea of creating a national database of Muslims in the U.S., a proposal Trump has flirted with on the campaign trail, was backed by 67 percent of his supporters.
About half of Trump’s supporters in the state – 51 percent – said they want to see mosques in the country shut down, while 44 percent said Islam should not be legal in America, according to PPP.
Organizers of Friday’s vigil, meanwhile, said in their news release that “terrorists who attack innocent men, women and children cannot seek shelter in the camps of any religious doctrine,” including Islam, where such violence is forbidden by the Quran, Muslims’ holy book.