Calif. Church Hosts Interfaith Service for Slain Muslim Mother

October 29, 2006

Source: The Christian Post

Wire Service: AP

An Afghan-born mother of six who was gunned down while wearing traditional Muslim dress was mourned Saturday during an interfaith service meant to unite a diverse city rattled by fears of a possible hate crime.

Women in Islamic head coverings called "hijabs" sat near Christians and Jewish men in yarmulkes during the memorial to honor Alia Ansari, 38, who was fatally shot on Oct. 19 as she walked to pick her children up from school.

Church leaders hoped the service at Centerville Presbyterian Church would bring together people of different faiths in Fremont, a Bay Area suburb of 200,000 that's home to the nation's largest Afghan community and a neighborhood called "Little Kabul."

"Our commitment is to say, 'How can we be better neighbors in the midst of a changing community?'" said the Rev. Greg Roth, the church's pastor. "There was a longing to do something positive."

The memorial was held in a church gymnasium to make people of different faiths feel comfortable, Roth said.