SACRAMENTO – As gunmen opened fire on worshipers inside an Egyptian mosque Friday, panic spread throughout communities with many worried about loved ones.
“I couldn’t believe it, I was shaking. I was so scared, I couldn’t believe this is happening, the number of deaths was horrific, it was so high,” said Folsom resident Basma Marmosh.
Marmosh has family in Egypt and learned of the news as she was scrolling Facebook.
“The first thing that hit me was oh my god was my family there,” she said.
The massacre started with some kind of explosion. Armed men then stormed the building – and opened fire. As people tried to flee, they were shot by gunmen positioned outside the exits.
Arriving ambulances also came under fire. The death toll soared past 200 before the killers escaped and another 100 people are being treated for their injuries.
Marmosh says the fact that the attack took place during Friday prayer is even more disturbing.
“We’re worshiping, this is supposed to be the most peaceful most serene point of your week, so to find out that people targeted that is despicable,” she said.
At Masjid Annur on 65th Street in Sacramento–prayers were high Friday.
“It’s absolutely unacceptable, it goes against the teachings of Islam,” said Abdul Rahman Gaitan.
Gaitan is a board member with the Islamic Center and says seeing attacks on innocent worshipers hits close to home.
“We’re all brothers and sisters in Islam and this hurts us and it goes against everything we believe in,” he said.
Over at St. Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Church in Roseville a majority of their parishioners are Egyptian including the pastor himself who says this is the first attack on a mosque in Egypt, a true shift in strategy by the terrorists.
“At first they tried to kill the Christians– because they wanted to divide the country between Christians and Muslims, but now a new strategy, now they kill the Muslims,” said Pastor Arsanios Rizk With St. Mary’s Coptic Church.
But for those like Marmosh whose hearts are heavy with grief, these mass killings are devastating no matter where they take place.
“Church, mosque, temple it doesn’t matter where it takes place, to me you’re targeting people and that’s just disgusting. Unfortunately I feel like every time I turn around, I’m hearing of some kind of mass shooting, some kind of attack. It’s unfortunate that this has become our time,” said Marmosh.