FISHERS, Ind. (Nov. 21, 2014)-- The community gathered to say goodbye to a man who spent his life helping others, only to be brutally executed by terrorists.
Friday, family and friends held a memorial service for Abdul-Rahman (formerly Peter) Kassig.
He was killed by ISIS in a video released last weekend. Kassig had been working to provide humanitarian aid in civil war-stricken Syria.
"It's just this mix of surreal and sad and it's not often where like events from half way across the world will touch you so much," said childhood friend, George Walton.
The Muslim community held on to hope and prayed constantly over the last six weeks for Kassig's release. They hoped one day he would join them at their mosque to celebrate his homecoming.
"That's why you have this serene. People don't know what to say or what to do. This feeling of helplessness that started since that day," said Dr. Shaker Rashid of the Al Huda Foundation.
Kassig's parents, Paula and Ed Kassig requested a prominent Syrian Cleric to deliver the message at their son's memorial service. Shaykh Muhammad Al Yaqoubi was the Imam of the Grand Umayyad Mosque is Damascus and is considered to be one of the most influential Muslim scholars in the world. He came to central Indiana on short notice at the family's request.
"When he went there he knew there were all these risk. He went against all odds showing every type of bravery this is why he'll be remembered," said Shaykh Muhammad Al Yaqoubi
He also sent a strong message to ISIS.
"It is also my duty to condemn his killers, his murderers, ISIS and tell that they do not belong to Islam," said Shaykh Muhammad Al Yaqoubi.
This was one of three services to be held for Kassig. Butler University will hold a memorial Sunday at 5 p.m. at Clowes Hall. The Muslim Alliance of Indiana plans another on Saturday at 6:45 p.m. at Indiana Interchurch Center, 1100 W. 42nd St.
Gov. Mike Pence has directed all state facilities in Marion County to fly their flags at half staff from sunrise to sunset Sunday in Kassig’s memory. He’s also asking businesses and residents to do the same.
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