Wake County

Interfaith blood drive honors Chapel Hill shooting victims

Muslims and Christians partnered Saturday for an interfaith blood drive to show solidarity against the kind of violence that ended the lives of three students in Chapel Hill in February.

The Muslim American Society Raleigh chapter contacted the Western Boulevard Presbyterian Church to see whether they could partner and show unity.

“We jumped on the opportunity,” the Rev. Betty Connette said. “The opportunity to show Muslims and Christians working together in service. We’re deeply privileged that the Muslim American Society contacted us.”

“People of all faiths, supporting people of any faith,” said Anne Baxter, who helped organize the event.

More than 30 people came out to donate 25 pints of blood.

“As opposed to bringing in anger and shedding blood, we’re giving blood to save a life,” said Ikram Hussaini, the secretary of the Raleigh chapter of the Muslim American Society. “People need a way to give back to the community, and by doing this it keeps the focus correct.”

Hussaini referenced a verse in the Qur’an that reads, “He who kills a soul unless it be (in legal punishment) for murder or for causing disorder and corruption on the earth will be as if he had killed all humankind; and he who saves a life will be as if he had saved the lives of all humankind.”

The killings of the three Muslim students, Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23; his wife, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21; and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, reverberated around the world.

Baxter, a Christian, and Hussaini, a Muslim both gave blood at the same time. Their bandage was the same color. They said they were the same.

Alexander: 919-829-4822;

Twitter: @GarnerCleveland

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