Prayers for the Victims at Vigil at B’desh Center


By Jawahar Malhotra

HOUSTON: The terrorist attack that took place in Dhaka on the night of July 1 resonated among the Bangladeshi community in the Bayou City as they came together to pay homage to the victims. It is a scene that is sadly being played out repeatedly and frequently almost every week to commemorate those who have died and been injured in acts of senseless violence.

For the Bangladeshis here who have been in Houston for decades, this deadly attack which came on the heels of the machete slashings of religious figures and the mass arrests by security forces only underscored how their Motherland had changed and become a dangerous place.

They gathered together under a tent to protect them from the blazing heat, on the lawn of the Bangladeshi-American Center on 13415 Renn Road on the city’s southwest side on Saturday, July 9 and a few hundred more attended the vigil held in the late morning. The backdrop to the podium was decorated by the flags of the countries of the victims of the attack and on a small table draped in black, 36 candles in glass were arrayed for the dignitaries to light.


Many local politicians and religious leaders came together to speak and to light a candle in memory of the victims. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner; Comptroller Chris Brown; Congressman Al Green and former Sheriff Adrian Garcia gathered to light a candle.

Among those who attended and spoke were elected officials from the City of Houston and religious leaders from the many communities in the Houston diaspora. Shah Haleem Executive Director of the BAC opened up the proceedings by telling the crowd “no act of hate can divide us. The next target is any moment, anywhere.” He added, “United we must stand against terrorists of all shapes and colors.”

Among the dignitaries was Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner who called for a common front in the face of global terror. “We have been summoned here by events throughout the world,” he said and called for a common front to face global terror. He then turned to his much-vaunted theme of diversity in the Houston Metroplex as a connection to the rest of the world, adding “If someone in Bangladesh hurts, we hurt.”


Shah Haleem, the President of the Bangladesh Association, Houston addressed the audience at the vigil held on July 9 for the victims of the terrorist attack in Dhaka on July 1.

Other local politicians who attended were to speak and to light a candle in memory of the victims were Houston City Comptroller Chris Brown; Congressman Al Green; Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee; State Representative Gene Wu and former Sheriff Adrian Garcia as well as religious leaders from other communities. A frequent visitor to many South Asian events, Al Green added “These are the times that try the souls of nations. These are times that will test the world.”