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Charleston church holds first worship service since massacre

The black church in the US city of Charleston where a white man gunned down nine African-American worshipers on Wednesday has held its first service since the massacre.


Hundreds of people congregated at the historic Emanuel African-American Episcopal Church for a service which was led by visiting clergy because the church's pastor was also shot dead by the 21-year-old assailant, Dylann Roof.


Several hundred people also filled the street outside the church. Many Muslims and Sikhs were also among the crowd gathered to express their solidarity with the African-American people. 

"Just because you're outside doesn't mean you're not inside with them," said Brenda Peart, a participant.


Worshipers at the church said the gunman had failed in his quest to break their spirit of love and faith.


"There they were in the house of the Lord, studying your word, praying with one another," said visiting minister Reverend John Gillison from the pulpit of the church.


"But the Devil also entered. And the Devil was trying to take charge," he said.


"Thanks be to God, hallelujah, that the Devil cannot take control of your people. And the Devil cannot take control of your church."

According to authorities in South Carolina, the attacker left a racist manifesto on his website. The website, called "The Last Rhodesian," was registered under Roof's name.

The website emerged on Saturday in which Roof vehemently denounces African-Americans and appears in photographs with guns and burning the US flag.


The 2,500-word manifesto on the website does not bear Roof's name. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was investigating the website. The agency said it was "taking steps to verify the authenticity" of the website.


"I have no choice. I am not in the position to, alone, go into the ghetto and fight," the racist manifesto stated.


"I chose Charleston because it is most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country.”

Speaking on Friday, US President Barack Obama said the shooting incident shows the need for vigilance against racism.


"The apparent motivations of the shooter remind us that racism remains a blight that we have to combat together," Obama said.

On Saturday, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said “institutional racism” still exists in the United States.

“Race remains a deep fault line in America,” Clinton said, speaking in front of the US Conference of Mayors in San Francisco. “Millions of people of color still experience racism in their everyday lives.”

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Date: 2015-06-22 11:09:54 | Category: World | Visites: 8966 | Like: 0

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