Muslim Community Holds Vigil for Murdered Pakistan Students

Hundreds gathered at an Islamic school to remember more than 130 children who were killed in Pakistan this week by the Taliban.

"It's like our own kids that died right there," said Millat Tabassun. "I have no words to explain it."

The Islamic Foundation of South Florida organized the candlelight vigil to remember the victims of this week's school massacre in Peshawar, Pakistan.

"We want to show the Pakistani people that even though we are here, we are still with them," Tabassun said. "We want to support as much as we can support."

Taliban militants sieged the military-run school early Tuesday, killing 145 people, most of them children. News of the eight-hour massacre spread quickly across the globe, sending shockwaves through this tight-knit South Florida community.

"It is as senseless as anything on this universe can be," said Dr. Sofia Khan, one of the speakers at the vigil.

Khurrum Wahid also spoke, sharing words of hope and togetherness with the large crowd. He said the tragedy struck him personally, as he reflected on a phone conversation with his friend's 12-year-old son in Peshawar.

"Just instinctively, I said, 'How are you doing, Towah?'" Wahid said to the crowd. "And he says, 'I don't know, I just buried four of my friends today.'"

Now, as the community works to draw attention to the massacre, many parents said they are holding their children a little closer.

"If I would check on my kids one time a night, now I'm checking on them like four times, five times a night, because it's just horrible," one parent said.

Another agreed, saying they couldn't imagine the ordeal parents in Pakistan are going through.

"I have a 12 year old and a 17 year old, and I think what would happen if they went to school one day and didn't come back."

Another vigil is planned for 4:30 p.m. Sunday at the Torch of Friendship at Bayfront Park in downtown Miami.

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