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Jordanians light candles in memory of slain Japanese journalist

By Muath Freij - Feb 02,2015 - Last updated at Feb 02,2015

AMMAN — Around 100 Jordanians participated in a candlelight vigil in the capital on Monday in memory of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, who was killed by the so-called Islamic State (IS) on Saturday.

“We highly appreciate your prayers for the Japanese victim of brutality. Your prayers reflect the warmth of the long lasting relations between Jordan and Japan,” Japan’s State Minister for Foreign Affairs Yasuhide Nakayama told the activists. 

Participants, who responded to calls for the vigil circulated on social media, gathered outside the Japanese embassy, near the 6th Circle, holding candles and photos of Jordanian pilot Muath Kasasbeh, who has been in IS captivity since late December.

Mokkaram Sulaiman, one of the participants, said this event will send a message from Jordanians to the whole world that “we feel with the Japanese people.”

“We want to show our support,” Sulaiman added. “We wanted to show to the whole world that Islam is about modernisation and peace.”

Maher Dudin, a university student, said Japanese people have shown their support for Kasasbeh “and we wanted to do the same with the case of Goto”. 

“The Japanese people are worthy of our respect,” Dudin added, noting that his participation in the vigil stems from a sense of duty towards fighting against terrorism. 

“We have to deepen the expression of democracy and religious cohesion, and show that religion has no relation to politics so that we can fight extremism,” he told The Jordan Times.

Goto was the second Japanese hostage to be slain by IS. The group released a recording in January claiming that it killed Haruna Yukawa, a private security contractor who was captured during a visit to Syria.

Gharam Abbadi, another participant, said such shows of solidarity can help lift the spirit of the Japanese people. 

Nakayama, who appeared to be emotionally moved by the gesture, stressed that Japan will always stand together with Jordan. 

“Your support will enable us to continue deepening our relationship in the spirit of friendship and mutual respect, now and in the coming generations.” 

The official thanked Jordan for its continuous support for Japan and the Japanese people. 

“We wish the safe return of the brave Jordanian pilot Muath Kasasbeh,” he added.

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