On Thursday evening, dozens of students gathered in front of the Reflection Pond at UCF for a candlelight vigil to honor the lives of those lost in recent terrorist attacks including Lahore, Belgium, Iraq, and Africa.

The Pakistani Student Association at UCF originally put together the vigil in an effort to bring awareness to those countries that are suffering and to show that members of the UCF community are grieving with those who were attacked.

Maha Ateeq, a sophomore health science major and the secretary of PSA, emphasized the importance of unifying with one another in light of these recent events as well as events of the past.

“All lives need to be honored,” Ateeq said. “We have to make sure we let people know what is happening and that we care about all of those who have been attacked.”

Jose Rodriguez, chaplain of the UCF Canterbury Club, joined the vigil to show that these attacks don’t just affect certain demographics of the community but rather, everyone, regardless of race, gender, or religion.

“In our tradition the Lord taught us that when one part of the people hurt, we all hurt, when one part of the people suffer, we all suffer,” Rodriguez said. “My suffering is not more important than someone else’s suffering and someone has to stand up and show that.”

Representatives from different organizations in the community including the Muslim Student Association, Students Organized for Syria, CAIR Florida, UCF Canterbury Club, Young Muslims Florida, and National Organization for Women each stepped up throughout the vigil to offer words of comfort and respect for those who suffered and those who are grieving.

In recent events, there has been concern and irritation expressed throughout the student organizations for the lack of coverage the media has given towards terrorist attacks that have happened in the Middle East.  Furthermore, with the increase of terrorist events and controversial rhetoric in the political campaign, the Muslim community have faced backlash from members of society who are blaming the Islamic faith for encouraging terrorism.

Tahoora Ateeq, president of PSA, addressed these concerns by emphasizing that the Muslim community are also victims of these events.

“My heart aches for the people,” Ateeq said. “ But we must remember, terrorism has no religion. It has no face. And it has no nationality.”

Sammy Katerji, president of Students Organized for Syria, also stressed the importance that Muslims are like any other individual.

“We may have our differences but it doesn’t matter who we are,” Katerji said. “We all shed the same blood and the same tears. I pray for a day that the borders will break, that we will see each other as one.”

The Lahore terrorist attack, which occurred on Easter Sunday, was carried out by a branch of the Taliban who were specifically targeting Christians. Out of the 74 people whose lives were lost, 14 were Christian while the rest were Muslim.

Similar terrorist attacks and bombings have occurred across the Middle East region, Belgium, and Africa. A moment of silence was held at the end of the vigil to honor and remember all lives that were lost.