Coincidentally, after posting yesterday about an opportunity for religious leaders to do some good vis-a-vis the building of mosques in their communities, I heard this interview on the way home. It’s interesting all the way around. The interview is with the author of Journey into America, and cit was focused specifically on troubles Muslims have in communities other than NYC and Brentwood, TN. But, what caught my ear was a side note from the author about an incident that is detailed in this post on the book’s blog.
On February 9, at 5:00 a.m., Daoud was awakened by the fire department. His Mosque and the home of the Muslim community was ablaze.
The community of 55 people at the maximum had purchased the building paid it off and was extremely proud that they had a home in the idyllic small town of Columbia in south Tennessee. The mosque was the only one within a wide radius and people from many small towns in the area came to worship there.
Three individuals had broken in, trashed the inside and tossed Molotov cocktails into the Mosque.
In the 7 years following 9/11, many have faulted the Muslim community for not speaking up enough. “Where are the moderates?”, people ask time and time again. But, many did speak up, others just didn’t know what to say. And when the Islamic Center was burned down by one of their own, the Christian community felt the same way. Many didn’t speak up. Not because they condoned the actions, but because they didn’t know what to say. Others said that the attackers were non-Christians or misguided so there is no reason for them to apologize or speak out against it.
Within a week, neighboring Muslim communities rallied and held a vigil at the sight. It was advertised an open to all. People from all faiths came and one of those was Reverend Bill Williamson from First Presbyterian Church. He had immediately sprung into action, collecting money during a service at the church and attending to present the money and take it one step further–offering a set of keys.
Reverend Williamson welcomed the displaced worshipers to visit the church. He brought Daoud and others to the Church and showed them to a room that he had set aside for them to use for meeting and prayers.
This dude was way, way, ahead of me.