Standing with Syria: Prayer service, call to action

This frame grab from Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 video, shows people walking among damaged buildings on a street filled with debris near the ancient Umayyad Mosque, in the Old City of Aleppo, Syria. A cease-fire deal between rebels and the Syrian government in the city of Aleppo has effectively collapsed, Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016, with fighter jets resuming their devastating air raids over the opposition's densely crowded enclave in the east of the city. The attacks threaten plans to evacuate the rebels and tens of thousands of civilians out of harm's way, in what would seal the opposition's surrender of the city. (AP Photo)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)- A vigil in solidarity with the people of Aleppo was held Tuesday night. The Universal Education Foundation teamed up with an organization called,”Fort Wayne Supporting Aleppo, Syria, Iraq and Beyond.”

Dozens of people participated. For many, it was a time of reflection, meditation, and prayer for those who have been killed, injured, and are fleeing the city of Aleppo.

The battle for Aleppo has been going on for some time now. It is the Syrian government against the rebel forces, and according to Carl Jylland-Halverson, the civilians are the ones paying the price.

“I talked to a gentleman that was crossing the street and was holding his four-year-old son,” said Jylland-Halverson. “He and his son were shot.”

Jylland-Halverson has witnessed first hand the death and destruction brought upon innocent people in Aleppo. Jylland-Halverson is volunteers with Syrian American Medical society, working with people who have been tortured and their family members killed.

“It’s difficult,” he said. “You can see the scars, you know what the bullets did and the snipers did. We need to be involved we need to have voice for those who can’t speak out for themselves.”

That’s why Halverson and dozens of others participated this prayer service. Dr. Ammar Ghanem helped organize it. Speakers included Ghanem, Jylland-Halverson, Dr. Ahmed Abdelmageed, and Sam Jarjour. Each spoke about their various experiences helping Syrian refugees.

“As people of humanity we care about oppression and oppressed people,” Ghanem said. “We care about helping others wherever they are.”

Ghanem said he hopes to keep the conversation going about Syria. He said by doing that hopefully one day there will be peace.

“We’ll ask them to talk to other friends and family,” said Ghanem.”Try to tell them the story about Aleppo and other stories in Syria. We would like them to go on social media and share stories that can tell the suffering of the Syrian people. We want them also to talk to their representative and senators and demand them to stop the war in Syria.”

“These are not invisible people,” said Jylland-Halverson. “We stand in solidarity with them. So I think it’s important to just make sure that we are on the side of resiliency and hope, and not on the side of despair.”

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The Universal Education Foundation encourages acquisition of Islamic knowledge and values, development of understanding and tolerance towards people of all faiths and promotion of harmony and peace in our community. It is a non-profit organization which was formed on October 21, 2005.