LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders continued his California campaign swing with a stop at the Islamic Center of Southern California in Koreatown and a later rally at downtown's Grand Park.
The candidate for the Democratic Party's 2020 presidential nomination joined imams, rabbis and other religious leaders at the Islamic center Saturday and used his visit to decry the March 15 shootings at two mosques in New Zealand that left 50 people dead.
“In this difficult moment, not only in American history where we see a rise in hate crimes, and not only in a world where we see a growing tendency toward authoritarianism, where demagogues are picking on minority communities all over this world, now is the time ... for us to stand up to hatred of all kinds,” Sanders told the crowd according to TheHill.com website.
He said it was imperative “to show the world that this nation in fact will be a leader in bringing our people together regardless of their religion, and to create an economy that works for all of us, an environment that works for all of us, and a world in which love will conquer hate.”
Later at the Grand Park rally, Sanders said he was “shocked and disgusted” by the New Zealand shootings and urged the crowd to “stand up to hatred of all kinds.”
The rally drew an overflow crowd estimated at 25,000 to 50,000, with supporters saying it was one of Sanders' largest campaign events since announcing his candidacy on Feb. 19.
“As president of the United States, I will not have kind words to say about authoritarian leaders around the world who espouse bigotry and hatred,” Sanders told the crowd. “Together we will make the United States the leader in the world in the fight for democracy and human rights.”
On Friday, Sanders held an outdoor rally in San Diego. Today, he is scheduled to hold a campaign event in San Francisco.
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