Interfaith prayer vigil held in Dallas for Paris attack victims

The issue of rejecting refugees was part of the discussion Thursday night at an interfaith prayer vigil in Dallas that was organized to stand against terrorism and show support for the Paris victims.

The group of about 50 people say they want to express a big message with people of different faiths.

They took turns to offer prayers for Paris and victims of terrorism worldwide.

“At this time when the messages of hate and violence have become so strong, it is incumbent on all of us who really came to our religious perspectives out of our sense of love and compassion to join together,” said Rabbi Nancy Kasten.

The vigil took place in Dealey Plaza. It was organized by the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and Interfaith Partners of DFW, who handed out candles and signs reading, "Terrorism has no religion.”

“If we want to make that the truth, then we have to bring everybody together and despite our religious differences, despite even our political differences, we have to say no to terrorism in all its forms,” said Alia Salem with the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

The prayers also asked for peace and understanding. Thursday’s meeting came the same week that Texas Gov. Abbott called for a ban on Syrian refugees, citing security concerns.

Wednesday, State Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller's campaign page on Facebook compared Syrians escaping the war to rattlesnakes. 

“They’re mothers, they're doctors, they're lawyers, they're teachers, and they're leaving their country and no one wants to do that,” said Alia Salem with the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “They're risking life, limb and family to come to us, and we are saying, ‘No, we don't want you.’ What kind of message does that send?”

The role of religious organizations has come up a lot this week. Some North Texas churches have said they intend to assist Syrian refugees, in spite of the governor's voiced opposition.

Catholic Charities of Dallas previously stood out and said it would hold off on resettling Syrians, and has since reversed course, saying it too would continue to resettle refugees, even from Syria.

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