Muslim Leaders Forgive Man Accused of Vandalizing Mosque

Members of a local Islamic center in Moorhead, Minnesota, said they had forgiven a man accused of vandalizing their mosque with racist and anti-Islam graffiti, inviting him and his family to visit the mosque.

“It is the month of Ramadan, and forgiveness is the message we learn from the day we step into this world,” said Sajid Ghauri, adviser for the Moorhead Fargo Islamic Center, Duluth News Tribune reported.

“With that in mind, we … would like to let the gentleman who allegedly put graffiti and hate messages on our mosque know that we forgive him from the deepest of our hearts.”

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Benjamin Stewart Enderle, 22, of Moorhead, was arrested on April 28 and faces felony harassment and criminal damage to property charges.

Benjamin Enderle
Benjamin Enderle

Phrases painted on the outside of the mosque included “Death to Islam” and women “can’t vote,” along with racial slur across six windows.

Nearly 400 members of the community removed the graffiti in less than 2 hours the Monday following the incident.

Ghauri invited Enderle and his family to visit the mosque after Ramadan for a conversation on Islam.

“Instead of coming in the dark, please come in light and talk with us,” Ghauri said.

“I guarantee you we will find lots of common ground and we will become good friends. Love is much more powerful than hate.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations in Minnesota applauded the leadership of the Moorhead Fargo Islamic Center and the Moorhead community, calling their work a blessing during Ramadan.

“While the hate crime sent a chilling message to our community, we welcome the opportunity to heal and move forward,” said Jaylani Hussein, executive director of CAIR-MN.

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Forgiveness In Islam

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.