Women in Islamic head coverings sat near Christians and Jews during the memorial to honour Alia Ansari, 38, who was fatally shot 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 San Francisco Bay-area suburb of 200,000 that is home to the largest Afghan community in the United States and a neighbourhood called "Little Kabul."
"Our commitment is to say: 'How can we be better neighbours in the midst of a changing community?"' said 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.
During the service, Ansari was remembered as a faithful woman who helped her family navigate a challenging move to the United States. Her family sat in the front row, often clutching each other and sobbing as speakers read passages from the Qur'an.
A traditional Muslim memorial was held for Ansari in Fremont's Central Park on Friday before her body was flown to Afghanistan for burial.
Ansari was walking in a residential neighbourhood when a gunman pulled up in a car and fired at her before driving away. Her body was found outside a home near the sidewalk. Her three-year-old child witnessed the shooting but was unharmed.
Hours after she was killed, police arrested a 27-year-old man they described as "person of interest" in the case. The man was being held on a parole violation and has not been charged.
Fremont police have not labelled Ansari's killing a hate crime but some community members believe she was targeted because she was wearing a hijab when she was shot.
Samina Sundas, national chair of the American Muslim Voice, said the murder appears to be a hate crime but added Fremont is "doing a tremendous job of taking a tragedy and turning it into a community-building effort."
start.shaw.ca/start/enCA/News...c=w102891A.xml (external - login to view)
Good job everyone, especially the anti-Muslim ones on this board. You prove the point.