Pardoned by Muslim Community, Mosque Vandal Avoids Jail

A young man who threw food at the Owen Sound mosque in Ontario was spared jail, thanks to a remarkable gesture shown by the Muslim community.

Brandon Hodder, 22, received a conditional sentence as mosque members said they had forgiven him, The Owen Sound Sun Times reported.

“A lot of people have forgiven. A lot of them want to welcome him with open arms,” Muslim association spokesman Waleed Aslam said.

“Forgiveness is a fundamental aspect of our religion and I think we’ve embodied that when it comes to this particular case.”

Hodder splattered tomato on the front glass doors of the Owen Sound Muslim Association’s mosque on 9th Avenue East July 12.

On Wednesday, Ontario Court Justice Julia Morneau gave him a 45-day conditional sentence, during which he must remain home during specified night-time hours, with exceptions, followed by 18 months probation, with 200 hours of community service required.

Hodder showed interest in helping the Owen Sound Muslim Association in some way as part of his community service, which the Muslim community welcomed.

One of the moral traits recommended in the Qur’an is forgiveness: Hold to forgiveness, command what is right, and turn away from the ignorant. (7: 199).

Stories of Muslims forgiving their attackers are quite common and many have made headlines.

In September 2018, a young Canadian Muslim woman, assaulted on a train last year, forgave her attacker, saying she had begun “changing the world.”

“Because of you, I grew, I forgave and I began changing the world one person at a time,” 18-year-old Noor Fadel told her attacker in court.

In December 2017, the Muslim community in Fort Smith, Arkansas, also forgave a vandal who attacked their mosque, granting him his freedom ticket.