Kenyan Religious Leaders Hold Multi-Faith Service for Westgate Victims

“Tolerance and mutual understanding are the cement holding" Kenyans together, said President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Posted: 10/01/2013 11:00 AM EDT

Kenya’s top religious leaders hosted an interfaith prayer service in the capital, Nairobi, on Tuesday to memorialize the 67 people killed in the Westgate mall attack.  

Muslim, Hindu and Christian clerics from the country’s Inter-Religious Council called for reconciliation, national unity and healing.

Those unable to attend were able to view the prayers on all national television stations, including the private broadcaster NTV, which called the program “United in Prayer” #WeAreOne, a hashtag that Kenyans have been using to spark conversations about the strike on social media.

President Uhuru Kenyatta reportedly applauded the multi-faith gathering, noting that the Islamist extremist group Al-Shabab who attacked the mall had used religion to try to separate Kenyans.

“Tolerance and mutual understanding are the cement holding [Kenyans together,]” Kenyatta said, according to BBC. “[Faith] is one thing in 100 different languages, that’s why faith unites us.”

As BBC reports:

He ended the service by saying that if al-Shabab fighters thought the Westgate attack would make Kenya withdraw its troops from Somalia, they were mistaken.

"Let me remind them that… for over 20 years as Somalis fought Somalis, all Kenya did was to offer refuge to citizens who fled," he said, mentioning Dadaab.

"We went there to help them bring order in their own nation and will stay there until [we do], we will not be intimidated."

Read the full story here.

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(Photo: Gallo Images (PTY) LTD/ Getty Images)

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