Saturday, December 06, 2008

Jewish and Indian groups mourn Mumbai at American University

WASHINGTON - A week after the attacks in Mumbai, India that killed 171 people, Jewish and Indian groups held a memorial service on the campus of American University to remember the victims and pledge they will continue to work together.

Several of the victims lived and worked at the Chabad Lubavitch House, an Orthodox Jewish center in Mumbai.

"These terrorists had only 10 people, but the decent people of the world have billions of people," said Rabbi Levi Shemtov, director of the Washington office of American Friends of Lubavitch.

Shemtov was a friend and colleague of Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, director of the Chabad House in Mumbai. Gavriel was a victim of the attacks.

"Those who seek to destroy us will know sooner or later that they could never succeed," Shemtov added.

Among those attending the packed gathering were representatives from the Indian community who say they don't want to be targeted as so many Muslims were after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

"We have thought about that. India is a very tolerant country and the world's largest democracy," said Partha Pillai of College Park.

"It is the only country in the world where all religious leaders are together. Hindus, Christians, Muslims, Jews, they are all together and they live together. We feel sad and angry that this kind of thing happened in India."

Lazarus Borgai is a native of Mumbai and currently resides in the Washington area. He tells WTOP these attacks were perpetuated by a small group of people and do not represent the greater Indian community.

"We never expected this to happen," says Borgai.

"India is a peace-loving country. (The attackers) are trying to create trouble between the two countries (India and the United States) and trying to disrupt the peace between these countries."

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