Saturday, September 19, 2015

Anti-Muslim Haters Lose in Louisville

Nice first step, Louisville. But the cure for religious extremism - which in this country is primarily christian extremism - is not more religion however compassionate, but rather un-theist freethought and humanism.

From the Courier:

The vandals' message of hatred that marred the outside of the Louisville Islamic Center earlier this week was relatively easy to paint over Friday by a massive outpouring of volunteers, but the problem of religious intolerance is a much more difficult stain to remove.

As hundreds gathered Friday afternoon at the defaced mosque on River Road, Mayor Greg Fischer told the crowd: "There is a lot of extremism in the world today. But today I'm seeing a lot of extreme love and support and I love it."

The Islamic center, 4007 River Road, is the oldest mosque in Louisville, and vandals left graffiti including messages such as "Stop terrorism" and "Moslems — leave the Jews alone."

Instead of expressing anger, members of the mosque asked on Friday that the vandals come forward and help clean up the graffiti. They said they would welcome them and invite them to learn more about their religion and their mission.

Attendees at Friday's rally, young and old, took turns applying brush strokes as the group collectively painted over the graffiti. Children made art about peace and equality, using their paint to tell a much different story than that of the vandals.

"Luckily we have seen a lot of support from media and everyone," said Farhart Hameed, Islamic Center board vice president and the person behind organizing Friday's rally. "It's been quite scary and disturbing for the kids."

Compassionate Louisville, a volunteer organization committed to making compassion a real part of daily life, dedicated a "compassion bench" at the center Friday, with co-host Tom Williams proclaiming: "Today we pray with paint."
"The vandals don't speak for our community," said Ned Berghausen, a teacher at Mercy Academy who went to Friday afternoon's event straight from work. "It really upsets me when I see this attack on people in our community."

Reena Piracha, who has been part of the Islamic Center for 11 years, said she was overwhelmed by the support in the community.

"I thanked one young man for being here. He said, 'Why thank me for coming here? This is my community,' " Piracha recounted. "Islamophobia is almost becoming normal in different communities. I want people to see what Louisville did today and take this into their communities."

No comments: