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Prayers and outreach to Uzbeks planned in response to Manhattan terror attack

NEW YORK — Religious leaders from multiple faiths held candles, sang songs and raised signs calling for peace in response to the Halloween terror attack that took the lives of eight innocent people. The vigil was held Wednesday evening in Foley Square.

Earlier, Uzbekistan immigrants went to an emergency meeting hosted by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

“This is not a reflection of the Uzbekistan community,” said Adams.

There is a large population of Uzbeks living in the borough, but not many resources in the Uzbek language. Adams hopes to change that in an effort to combat radicalism.

“We strongly condemn the terror attack on the innocent civilians in New York City yesterday,” said Abdullah Kwaja, president of the Turkestanian American Association, an Uzbek-American group.

Adams plans to hang posters at restaurants, wedding halls and mosques that discourage radicalism and offer resources to Uzbek immigrants who may feel despondent or vulnerable. He plans to perform the outreach in the Uzbek language. An Uzbek imam will deliver sermons at a Turkish mosque in Brighton Beach, and local Uzbek media will also disseminate messages that will be inclusive of this sometimes isolated minority, countering messages of hate and terror that may be easily accessed on the internet.

“If you only hear communication of hate, radicalization - thats what you’ll gravitate towards. We must stop that. Communicate in every language,” said Adams.

Uzbek leaders sought to distance their culture and their beliefs from Sayfullo Saipov’s deadly attack.

“It bother me too,” said Kwaja. “My religion does not teach to kill innocent people and harm innocent people.”