Nearly 700 people assembled at St. Matthias Church Aug. 20 for a community vigil against hate, organized by the Franklin Township Interfaith Council.
Those gathered in the John F. Kennedy Boulevard church heard from the township’s religious and political leaders, then participated in a candlelight vigil.
The speakers included Alex Kharazi, president of the Interfaith Council; Rabbi Eli Garfinkel of Temple Beth El and the council’s vice president; Fr. Douglas Haefner from St. Matthias; Mayor Phil Kramer; Wije Kottachachchi, from the Buddhist Vihara Meditation Center; Somerset County Freeholder Brian Levine; Board of Education president Ed Potosnak; Township Councilwoman Shanel Robinson (D-At Large); the Rev. Sharon Culley from Somerset Presbyterian Church, and state Assemblyman Joe Danielsen (D-17).
Statements were read from Imam Rizwan Rizvi, from the Masjid-e-Ali mosque and Pastor George Montanari from the Middlebush Reformed Church, and prayers were read by Shirin Poustchi and Board of Education member Ardaman Singh.
During teh candlelight vigil, Ali Chaudry, president of the New Jersey Interfaith Coalition led the group in the reading of the pledge to “Stand Up For the Other,” which he authored.
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