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Jehovah’s Witnesses mourn victims of Hamburg capturing

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BERLIN — Members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany held a memorial service Saturday for the six folks killed throughout a mass capturing at a religious service in Hamburg this month.

A 35-year-old German man who opened hearth in the course of the March 9 service killed himself as police arrived at a Jehovah’s Witnesses corridor the place the service was going down. The assault wounded 9 folks, together with a pregnant girl who misplaced her unborn baby.

“We’re speechless within the face of the violence and brutality. There’s no phrase for this,” Dirk Ciupek, a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, mentioned in his sermon. “This was an assault not simply on a number of of us, however an assault on all of us.”

Ciupek expressed gratitude to the law enforcement officials who he mentioned prevented extra deaths and to the medical personnel who tended to the wounded with dedication and empathy.

“Don’t let evil defeat you,” he mentioned, addressing the members of the family of those that died. He spoke about every sufferer individually, together with the unborn child.

“We miss them, their love, their smiles, the whole lot,” Ciupek mentioned.

All the victims had been German residents aside from two wounded girls, one with Ugandan citizenship and one with Ukrainian.

The gunman, recognized by authorities solely as Philipp F. as a result of German privateness legal guidelines, was a former member who left the Jehovah’s Witnesses two years in the past. Investigators have mentioned his departure was “apparently not on good phrases.”

German prosecutors mentioned they had been investigating whether or not there was a non secular motive for the crime, however that there have been no indications he was concerned in any community or had far-right views.

The Hamburg congregation that was holding the service has about 60 members and is one in all 47 within the port metropolis, which is house to virtually 4,000 denomination members, in keeping with the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

About 3,300 folks attended Saturday’s memorial service, which occurred in a gymnasium in Hamburg, German information company dpa mentioned. The occasion additionally was livestreamed for Jehovah’s Witnesses who couldn’t be there in particular person.

Mark Sanderson, a member of the Governing Physique of Jehovah’s Witnesses, traveled to Hamburg from america and addressed the mourners.

“Our hope, our religion, our love, can survive tragedy, they’ll overcome hatred and violence,” he mentioned. “If we present our like to these round us, we replicate our religion to God.”

Jehovah’s Witnesses are a part of a global church based in america within the nineteenth century and headquartered in Warwick, New York. The church claims a worldwide membership of about 8.7 million, with about 170,000 in Germany.

Members are identified for his or her evangelistic efforts that embody knocking on doorways and distributing literature in public squares. The denomination’s practices embody a refusal to bear arms, obtain blood transfusions, salute a nationwide flag or take part in secular authorities.

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