Springfield-area residents of different races and religions filled to overflowing a local mosque to remember the lives of those killed in San Bernardino, but also to put out an important message.
That message?  The people who killed those in San Bernardino and who have committed other recent terrorist attacks don't represent the values of Muslims, or the Muslim people.
"Every faith...is unique, but should not be used as a tool of discrimination," says Driss El-Akrich, a member of the board of the Islamic Society of Greater Springfield, which hosted the vigil.  "The Quran itself declares that all religions, all children of Adam, be honored equally."
Another speaker -- U.S. Attorney Jim Lewis -- told the crowd that the best thing everyone can do right now, is be present in each other's lives.
Reverend Sara Isbell, pastor of the Chatham United Methodist Church, says she knew she had to take part in the vigil, but was, in her words, "deeply troubled" by the fact such a vigil was needed.
"None of this should have happened.  Nothing about this was fair," says Isbell.  "But, we also grieve for one another here, perhaps far removed from the actual violence, but not so far removed from its aftermath:  the anger, the accusations, the vandalizing and burning of mosques."
Isbell says many have spent time in recent weeks pointing fingers at what she calls imagined enemies, and says it's worth grieving "over a society that tolerates this kind of behavior."
Photo caption: State Rep. Tim Butler, Sen. Dick Durbin, and others were part of a vigil Sunday night at the Islamic Society of Greater Springfield.  Will Stevenson/Illinois Radio Network
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