AUSTIN, Texas – Austin residents and faith leaders gathered outside the gates of a local mosque on Friday to show support to the Muslim community after the mosque was vandalized.
“Any sort of hate crimes against any minority groups cannot be tolerated, and we will all stand together,” said the center’s imam, Islam Mossaad, Statesman reported.
“Whether it’s Muslim or Jew or Christian or Hindu or Buddhist or a person who is an immigrant, I mean, it doesn’t matter. If they’re being attacked or persecuted, then we all stand together to defend that person, organization or entity.”
Austin residents, Muslim community members, and religious leaders lined up outside the gates to the North Austin Muslim Community Center.
Some donned, “I stand with my Muslim neighbors” T-shirts. Others held signs reading, ”#LOVEWINS.” The group of about 25 to 30 people waved at passing cars and hoped neighbors would let the Muslim community worship and exist in peace.
The event was organized after the Islamic center was attacked on September 2, resulting in the front doors and windows broken, shattered glass on the ground, and slashed vehicle tires in the parking lot.
“I was very shocked. It was a very, very, very, very brutal act of vandalism,” Huma Ahmad recalled Friday.
Another attack targeted the center on September 13 when a van used by the center had its tire slashed.
“This is my favorite mosque,” she said. “Now it’s not safe.”
Since the attacks, the mosque has held a community forum with city leaders, and police have asked for the public’s help in identifying anyone involved in the attacks, including a person of interest spotted in surveillance footage.
Flyers with the person of interest’s photo now hang on the mosque’s front door.
Pastor Mary Wilson, from the Church of the Savior in Cedar Park, asked those behind the vandalism to come to visit with the religious leaders.
“Come speak to us so we can turn that hatred into love,” Wilson said, wondering what caused the vandal to be so violent toward a house of worship.