Crime & Justice
Vigils to be held in Los Angeles to honor victims of Orlando massacre
Memorials for those who died in Saturday's attack in Orlando will take place throughout the Southern California Monday.
Mourners will gather at 7 p.m. for a candlelight vigil at L.A.'s City Hall.
Mayor Eric Garcetti will join members of the city's spiritual community, the heads of the Los Angeles LGBT Center, the Latino Equality Alliance, the city's Transgender Advisory Council, and the Gay Men's Chorus, among many others, to offer their thoughts.
The ceremony will be devoted to honoring the dead in Orlando, as well as to provide the community a space to console and support each other, said organizer Dave Garcia, director of policy for the L.A. LGBT Center.
"Most importantly, we want to show respect for the victims of the Orlando massacre," he said. "We will be reading all of their names tonight."
Garcia added that the forum would also provide the public a place to vent.
"I would be remiss if I didn't say that I'm sure that there will also be some anger and some frustration" at the event, he said.
The event will take place on City Hall's south steps. Over 3,000 people have already said they were attending on the event's Facebook page, which provides directions and a full list of speakers.
The Islamic Center of Southern California and other community groups are hosting an interfaith vigil 6 p.m. Monday at the Islamic Center on Vermont Avenue in Koreatown. It's in response to the shooting over the weekend in Orlando and is being held on the eighth day of Ramadan going into the ninth evening of Ramadan.
"We are meeting with Muslim, Christian, Jewish brothers and sisters, with gay and straight citizens, with law enforcement and common citizens, and we are soul searching together to heal from the devastation of the Orlando tragedy and to find some answers," Salam Al-Marayati, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, told KPCC. "And if we can't find it within ourselves then we turn to God and ask him to open some doors for us to help us find those answers."
Al-Marayati is set to speak at the Islamic Center event.
"Unfortunately these incidents are happening too often, but every time there is a terrorist incident, the interfaith community does come together to begin the healing process," Al-Marayati said. "It's very special for us to have people of all backgrounds ... come together to try to make sense about something that's so senseless, but at the end of the day we have to work together to heal from the injury that we all suffered from the devastation of so many lives lost."
Al-Marayati said that American Muslims want to be part of the solution and are on the front lines in countering extremism.
"When there's a terrorist incident, there are politicians who exploit the fear and hysteria of the public," Al-Marayati said. "They're only grandstanding to get cheap political votes, because they know that fear is is an instrument of galvanizing a certain population, certain demographics in our society to their corner."
He said that the Muslim community feels that they're being targeted, with anti-Muslim sentiment driving those with different viewpoints to defend their sides rather than coming together.
"It can't be resolved by law enforcement tactics, it's not going to be resolved militarily. There's a disintegrating Middle East that is unfortunately infested with war-torn areas. So we'll have to deal with this problem for quite some time," Al-Marayati said.
What happened in Orlando was unpredictable, Al-Marayati said.
"But at the end of the day, we look back and we say we say to ourselves, could we have intervened in a situation like this, where somebody could have at least isolated this person, if not rehabilitated the person, and I think that's that's the challenge before all of us," Al-Marayati said.
The discussion around religion has become radicalized, Al-Marayati said.
"When religion is taken into a political sphere, or is in the prism of geopolitics, it does become radicalized," he said. "But when religion is viewed as serving God to serve humanity, and seeing what we have to do in communities, it is the most liberating spiritual experience you can have."
Al-Marayati said that people find radical ideologies appealing thanks to the United States's involved in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"The champion is not going to be the one that wins the battle necessarily on the ground over there, but the champion is going to be the one that develops the means to make peace," he said.
Still, he said that eliminating ISIS would just lead to another extremist group coming forward.
Lancaster Outreach Center vigil
Another candlelight vigil was being held Monday at 7:30 p.m. by the Outreach Center in Lancaster, according to a release from the NAACP Antelope Valley branch.
The vigil was set to take place in front of the center, with those coming invited to light a candle "in remembrance but also in support for their families and friends, those injured for a speedy recovery, and our larger LGBTQ community."
The center is asking people to bring a candle, though candles will also be provided to those who don't have one.
This story has been updated.