People don’t have to agree with each other in order to show kindness. This truth was displayed in Rochester, Minnesota, as community members held a rally to support a mosque that had been vandalized.
Last Saturday, leaders of the Masjid AbuBakr Al-Seddiq Islamic Center discovered bacon in the parking lot as well as the Islamic Center’s front alcove. For many, this might seem like a harmless prank, but for Muslims who are not allowed to even touch pork, the act was a serious desecration of the Islamic Center. It’s akin to a swastika spray-painted on the side of a synagogue or profane blasphemies written on the side of a Christian church. Even if you’re not a Muslim, the command to love your neighbor requires sympathy for the Islamic Center, at the very least.
Demonstrating love for their neighbors, community members of Rochester showed up at the Islamic Center this past Sunday morning in a show of support. The Post Bulletin reports:
Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede stopped by at the end of the vigil. He said he was impressed so many people organized so quickly. He said he heard about the event when it was already underway and headed to the Islamic Center to show support personally and on behalf of the city government. He said religious discrimination is not characteristic of Rochester.
“This is very — to use a kind word — disappointing,” he said of the Saturday incident.
A local woman, Brittany Anderson, who attended the vigil, pointed out how the act of vandalism affects the whole community: “Religious freedom should be important for all of us. If anyone can be under attack, then all of us can be under attack.”
Speaking to the Post Bulletin, the founder of Rochester for Justice, Kamau Wilkins said, “Small acts of hate are less likely to happen if there’s a strong reaction against them. When a large group of people come out together, even against small acts, it’s a measure of preventative action. It shows the community support this mosque does have.”
Sadly, some Americans who profess to be Christians will smirk at this incident of hatred directed at our Muslim neighbors. In doing so, they will be in direct violation of the teachings of Jesus, who commanded us to love our neighbors. Loving someone does not require agreement with their politics or religion.