Winnipeg's Jewish and Muslim communities gather for prayer service in show of solidarity
About 20 members of the Jewish community took in Friday prayers at the Grand Mosque
Two groups from different faiths gathered together in prayer on Friday, two weeks after attacks on two mosques on the other side of the world killed 50 people and injured many more.
About 20 members of Winnipeg's Jewish community joined members of the Muslim community at the Grand Mosque on Waverley Street for Friday prayers, which is the Muslim holy day.
"The service was absolutely beautiful," said Rabbi Kliel Rose from Etz Chayim synagogue.
He said he was saddened when he heard of the attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand earlier this month and said it reminded him of the attacks at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, where 11 people died in Oct. 2018 after a gunman opened fire at the Tree of Life Synagogue.
Rose said members of the Muslim community were the first to reach out to him after the Pittsburgh attack and he felt it was important to show solidarity with Winnipeg's Muslim community following the attacks in Christchurch.
"In our tradition, when someone is mourning, it's incumbent on fellow community members to enter into that house of mourning, and that's exactly what I felt I was doing here," Rose said.
"I feel like one of the messages we need to send to people is you can be strong in your faith by getting to know people from different faith traditions," he said.
Members of both communities met for discussions prior to the Friday afternoon service on how to support each other more.
Tasneem Bali is a volunteer at the Grand Mosque, she said she was touched to see the support returned.
"It was very wonderful," she said. "I felt loved and supported. Just knowing that people stand with you helps a lot in the healing process."
Bali said while different faith communities sent letters of support following the attacks, showing up in person to pray with them was moving.
"It's time to visit each other's places of faith, and understand why we are more similar than we are different, and to show our children that we are one," she said.
"We are Winnipeg," she said.
"The message of being together and being included in everything, I think, is important."
Rose said he felt inspired after attending the service.
"Anybody who is going to a house of worship… the expectation should be that this is a safe place," he said. "If that can't happen, and you can't be assured of that, that defeats the whole purpose of gathering together for prayer."
He said both groups plan to have further discussions on how they can continue to get to know each other's communities.
with files from Marina von Stackelberg