Saskatchewan writer Zarqa Nawaz attends Orlando vigil in New York
Sask. author says it was an incredible experience
Zarqa Nawaz was a little worried about her safety as a Muslim woman heading out on a New York subway to a large vigil. However, she came back feeling like she was embraced by the people of New York.
"It was incredible," said Nawaz. "I don't think I've ever had an experience like that before in my life."
Nawaz is in New York as part of a tour for her book Laughing All the Way to the Mosque. On Monday night, she joined a crowd of thousands of people in downtown New York to honour the 49 people who died when a U.S.-born Muslim man shot 49 people in an Orlando gay bar.
Nawaz told CBC Radio's The Morning Edition that she went to the vigil with a friend to show her support for the LGBT community. It was important for them to attend as visible Muslims.
Nawaz admits it is a scary time to be a Muslim traveling in the States, given the backlash by some after the mass shooting, but she said she actually felt more protected at the vigil than before.
"It's a strange feeling," said Nawaz.
At the vigil, speakers addressed the crowd in front of one of the city's historic gay bars. Nawaz said people let her and her friend wiggle their way to the front to hear the speakers.
"People were looking at us and thanking us for coming and wishing us 'Eid Mubarak' and a 'good Ramadan.'"
Nawaz said there was a feeling of solidarity as well.
"I've always felt that the LGBT community has stood shoulder to shoulder with Muslims when it comes to combating Islamophobia."
Nawaz said that she hopes that in the aftermath of this tragedy, there will be the opportunity for further cooperation between Muslims and the LGBT community like she saw in New York.