12/17/2014 12:15 EST | Updated 02/15/2015 05:59 EST

Taliban school shooting shocks, saddens local Pakistani community

The Pakistani community in B.C. is reeling in shock after nine Taliban gunmen stormed a military-run school in Pakistan. The gunmen lobbed hand grenades and shot children and teachers without discrimination.

The assault left 141 dead and many injured.

Aasim Rashid, an Islamic scholar of Pakistani descent and a spokesperson for the B.C. Muslim Association, said the Pakistani community is in a state of shock and extremely sad.

"It's a period of grief and sorrow and we're trying to figure out what those families must be going through, who lost all these innocent children," he said to Gloria Macarenco on the CBC Radio program On The Coast.

Rashid said people in Vancouver are holding a prayers and vigils and thinking about what kind of messages to convey to the politicians there. He added he hoped people in his community don't overly politicize the issue.

"We need to first reach out to families there and help them...that's the immediate need."

A memorial vigil for the victims will be held Wednesday in Surrey's Holland Park from 5 to 6 p.m. PT.

Hear Aasim Rashid, of the B.C. Muslim Association, speaking to On The Coast by clicking audio link: "Pakistani community responds to Taliban school shooting."