Ontario Mosque Forgives Vandals, Welcomes Them with Open Arms

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).

 A local Ontario mosque has forgiven four men who were accused of vandalizing its facility, responding to hate with love and open arms.

📚 Read Also: The Power of Forgiveness: An Islamic Perspective

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The four suspects, whose images were released by Ontario’s York Regional Police, range in age from 18 to 25, and have allegedly urinated on, and thrown various items at, the building. They also broke a window.

On Monday, the Islamic Society of Markham (ISM) mosque sent a statement to the Voice titled, “We are responding to the recent vandalism incident with open doors and hearts.”

Images of the four suspects
Images of the four suspects

“In the aftermath of the potentially hate-motivated recent attack, we are opening our doors to the community,” the statement said.

“We would like to thank the efforts of our neighbors, communities, and friends who came forward to stand in solidarity.

“…At this time, while we respect, and ask the community to respect the integrity of the investigation, we can say that our response to this incident will always be one of love and open arms.”

The mosque officials confirmed that Islam promotes love and forgiveness.

“Islam teaches us that the quality of mercy and forgiveness are of tantamount importance. Our aims will always be, in addressing whoever is eventually arrested under the investigation, through the lens of rehabilitation, reintegration, and ultimately, we hope through a lens of forgiveness,” the statement read.

“We have no interest in punitive punishment being meted out to the attackers. We have an interest in the attackers finding their way back to a better path.”

Heartwarming Stories of Forgiveness

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

Earlier this month, a London mosque imam forgave his attacker who stabbed him in the neck inside the mosque, saying that forgiveness is part of his faith.

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.