After mosque shootings, Memphis Muslim community hopes for change

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The death count from Friday's mosque shootings in New Zealand reached 50 people, and Muslims around the world are grappling with the loss of those in their community. Many of them in Memphis said they're hoping for a change.

"If it's my turn to die on that day, then it's my turn to die," Nabil Bayakly said. "And really the best place for you to die is the house of God."

Bayakly said the whole scenario has been an emotional, heart-wrenching two days for the Muslim community in Memphis.

"It was really a horrible thing to wake up to," Bayakly said.

With Memphians by their side, dozens gathered at Masjid Anoor in prayer.

In October, these same faces were ones comforting the Jewish community in Memphis after a gunman opened fire in a Pittsburgh synagogue. But now, they find themselves on the other end.

"We had members of various faiths," Bayakly said. "They came to join with us, so that they would be ... in solidarity, and they're watching over us."

Bayakly said the outpouring of love from strangers has been a sense of comfort to the community.

He doesn't know what can eventually stop this hatred spreading across countries, but he believes it begins with the behavior of the President of the United States.

"You've got to stop this because somebody in that position is saying these things, it is going to carry a much more bigger weight," Bayakly said.

Although it is hard to still wrap their heads around the horrific crimes, the Memphis Muslim community is looking at the positives, sticking by their faith and believing that the victims who passed are still here—just living in a place called paradise.

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