View image | gettyimages.com Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Local Pakistanis and faith groups mourning the 145 victims—132 of them children—of a Taliban school attack are planning a candlelight vigil in Mineola on Wednesday evening.The brazen attack shocked the world on Tuesday as reports came in describing how ruthless Taliban gunman stormed the Army Public School and Degree College in Pashawar and indiscriminately sprayed bullets into uniformed children and their teachers.“I could not focus since I heard the news,” said Isma Chaudhry, the president-elect of the Islamic Center of Long Island, who was raised in Lahore. “What is most shameful is that this is all done in the name of religion and these are acts beyond any explanation, beyond any sense, beyond any human understanding.”Pakistani troops who responded to the school described a horrific scene of pools of blood and bullet-ridden bodies of lifeless children scattered on the floor. Some students recalled how the Taliban forced them to watch as their teacher was burned alive. None of the attackers survived the siege.The tragedy shocked Pakistani-born Long Islanders who have been struggling to come to terms with the brutal terrorist attack.“These were children,” Chaudhry added. “I have kids…I just cannot imagine such a horrific, heinous action toward anyone, especially kids.”Bashir Qamar, founder of Pakistani American Community of Long Island, a cultural and social organization, said his group will mourn the dead at a candlelight vigil at the Theodore Roosevelt Executive & Legislative Building in Mineola at 6 p.m. Wednesday.“We were in sudden shock,” he said. “We were speechless. It was such a sad and tragic incident.” Qamar, who is from Karachi, said he was hoping that the Pakistani Army could put an end to the violence.According to reports, the attack was in retaliation for a Pakistani military offensive against the military group on the Afghan border.“There’s no justification, there is nothing,” added Chaudhry. “It’s something you cannot really comprehend.”When she lived in Pakistan, Chaudhry said her family would travel to Pashawar often. She described it as a “major city” that is home to children who take pride in their education. For some Pakistani children, however, school is not an option because families cannot afford the cost of education, she said.“It’s not something that comes in easy or is taken for granted,” she said. “You should see these kids the way they’re dressed up…because they have a lot of pride.” Chaudhry spoke to friends and family back home shortly after the attack. Everyone is “weeping a loss,” she said.She said interfaith groups from across the region have reached out to the ICLI and expressed deep sadness. An interfaith prayer service is expected to be held at the ICLI’s mosque in Westbury Wednesday afternoon to mourn the victims.The devastating attack came less than a week after Malala Yousafzai became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace prize. Yousafzai survived a Taliban assassination attempt in Pakistan after she was targeted for her pro-education advocacy.“I am heartbroken by this senseless and cold-blooded act of terror in Peshawar that is unfolding before us,” Yousafzai said in a statement. “Innocent children in their school have no place in horror such as this.” View image | gettyimages.com
Two of the biggest stars of USC’s football team did not fully participate in practice yesterday as they nursed injuries suffered in Saturday’s game against Ohio State.Freshman quarterback Matt Barkley is recovering from a bruised right shoulder and didn’t make any throws during practice, while senior safety Taylor Mays didn’t partake in any drills after mildly spraining his right knee in the Trojans’ 18-15 win over the Buckeyes.Big loss? · USC safety Taylor Mays was held out of practice because of the injury he sustained in the 18-15 win against Ohio State Saturday. – Leah Thompson | Daily Trojan Coach Pete Carroll said both players are day-to-day and it is unclear when they will return to practice.“We’re going to wait until [Tuesday] to find out,” Carroll said.Redshirt sophomore quarterback Aaron Corp took snaps with the first-team offense during practice, and freshman T.J. McDonald and sophomore Drew McAllister filled in for Mays in the Trojans’ secondary.Carroll said he is not sure at this point when Barkley would need to return to practice to start Saturday’s game at Washington. But if the true freshman doesn’t practice this week, the coach said he probably won’t play against the Huskies.“I would think not, but we’ll find out,” Carroll said.uJunior running back Joe McKnight, who ran for a game-high 60 yards and caught two passes for 45 yards against the Buckeyes, was named Pac-10 offensive player of the week.“It feels good,” McKnight said. “You just can’t let that get to your head. You’ve just got to come out, work hard everyday and continue playing hard.”McKnight showed up most when it counted in Columbus, Ohio. On the Trojans’ game-winning touchdown drive in the closing minutes of the game, the running back gained 32 yards on the ground, 21 yards through the air and caught the two-point conversion pass to extend USC’s lead to three.McKnight said he was thankful Carroll left him on the field for the majority of the game-winning drive. He wanted to take advantage of that opportunity and take over.“I was a little surprised [to be on the field at the end of the game],” McKnight said. “But Coach Carroll always had faith in me to make plays. I guess at that time he really believed in me to get us down the field, and that’s what happened.”McKnight admitted he made mistakes when the ball was in his hands during his first two years as a Trojan. But now, in his third year, he is focusing more on ball security than making spectacular plays, as he did at the end of the Ohio State game.“I didn’t want to cough the ball up,” he said. “That was the only thing on my mind. I wasn’t trying to break anything or make anybody miss. I was just trying to get downfield and keep the ball in my hands.”Overshadowed by the game-winning drive in Columbus was the play of USC’s defense down the stretch.Carroll thought that the defense stepped up after some early miscues and played really well in the second half.“I thought it was really cool that the guys hung together and continued to give us a chance to win the football game,” Carroll said. “And when it came down to it, we found a way.”Redshirt sophomore linebacker Chris Galippo was one of the many defensive players who stood out to Carroll. Galippo had five tackles and an interception that he returned for 51 yards, setting up USC’s touchdown in the first quarter.“The guy is really aware and watching what’s going on,” Carroll said.