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East Austin church holds vigil for New Zealand mosque shooting victims

People from different faiths and religious backgrounds came together for a vigil in support of the Muslim community here and around the world.

AUSTIN, Texas — The pews at St. James Episcopal church were filled Saturday night at a vigil after the terror attacks at two different mosques by a self-proclaimed racist in New Zealand leaving 50 people dead.

The event initially drew the interest of hundreds through a Facebook event.

"To show solidarity, love and support for people that have gone through this pain," said Jim Harrington.

That pain is felt by both Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

“This kind of attack is an attack on everybody around the world," said Harrington.

RELATED: New Zealand mosque attacks death toll rises to 50

"What happened in New Zealand has really struck a chord with me because we're Muslim," said Nazia Khan, who attended the vigil with her family. 

"It's amazing when we walked in, I actually didn't see any Muslims right away; I saw a lot of people from lots of walks of faith," said Khan. 

She and her family go to their mosque regularly, saying prayer can be an escape. 

"The fact that somebody came and they took advantage of that wonderful time, it's just painful," said Khan. "It's not just about our religion; its about what's happening all over the world with everybody."

RELATED: Man who stood up to mosque gunman probably saved lives

Mayor Steve Adler also took to the podium to speak on Saturday. 

For Khan, she says an event like this shows that they're not alone.

"There's so many people out there who care. There are more good people in this world than there are bad. This just symbolizes all of that."

Austin police have been stepping up patrols around mosques and were at the vigil on Saturday for security.

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