By Megan Smith –
The Muslim Student Association (MSA) of Arizona State University partnered with the Sun Devils Are Better Together (SunDABT) organization and held a candlelight vigil on Hayden Lawn on ASU’s Tempe campus in honor of Mohamed Taha Omar, Adam Mekki and Muhannad Tairab, three Sudanese men found murdered February 24 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. All three men were under age 25. Two of the victims were Muslim and the third was a Christian.
The March 2 vigil was open to students and members of the Tempe community. Around 50 people gathered on Hayden Lawn. Candles were passed out to all in attendance. Johnny Martin, president of Sun Devils Are Better Together, read a statement from the cousin of one of the deceased. Her words,“The worst thing after death is the silence that comes with it, death does not discriminate and neither do we,” set the somber tone for the evening.
After a moment of silence, a series of prayers were recited from those of the Christian, Hindu, Pagan, Humanist, Jewish and Muslim traditions. Two students from the MSA spoke on the media silence on the slayings. The night concluded with attendees laying candles down in the center of Hayden Lawn and the circulation of a petition to further investigate the crime.
The residence in which the men were shot was known to be a hangout for young people. Police said there was no record of violence or gang-related activity occurring at the home. All three of them were shot “execution style.”
Little media coverage and seemingly little explanation for the murders has created feelings of frustration in a time when increased speculation about minority and religious hate crimes has been in the spotlight.
Martin, a senior, said the organization chose to work with the MSA as an act of “standing in solidarity with them in their time of grieving.”