Peace Be Upon You

AR-160719465.jpg&MaxW=650Protected by darkness last Thursday night, a hooded figure crept up to the Community Center of Masjid Al-Hoda. He smashed a window with an ax, painted anti-Muslim graffiti on the front of the Mosque and then, like the coward he is, ran away.

This afternoon, people of all faiths along with non-believers gathered with community members to let them know this attack was not just on the Muslim Community, it was on all of us. We were united as human beings who were appalled at the hate and racism behind this reprehensible action. We crowded into the center for an interfaith service and a discussion of what we could do to let it be known this action was not representative of what our community stands for.

This is the place I wrote about in “It Takes A Village” .  Once called Little Rest, this is my little town.  The Mosque is adjacent to the campus of the University of Rhode Island, where I attended college fifty years ago. I took this attack very personally, just as everyone else in that room did.

Last Fall, our church had gathered at this Mosque to share a meal, participate in a prayer service and gain a better understanding of  our Muslim neighbors. I wrote about it in  “To Infinity and Beyond”. It was an enlightening evening. They visited our church for a shared meal the following winter. I knew these people whose sanctuary had been vandalized. I was at a loss for what to say as they graciously welcomed me back.

I listened to all the speakers but was especially touched by the young man, who was the first to discover the vandalism on Thursday night.  He spoke to us about the fear he felt when he saw the hate graffiti splattered in blood-red  paint across the front of his place of worship. He shared with us that since that night, he could not get the picture of the graffiti from his mind – until this afternoon. Now, the faces of all of us gathered here to support his Muslim Community had replaced that picture. And he was no longer afraid to walk outside in the sunshine.

Another man said, he wanted to bring the vandal into his home to share a meal and get to know his family. He felt it was the only way to fight the ignorance which was at the base of this racist act and all of the other hate acts that seem to be filling our world today. We agreed education would lead to a better understanding of other nationalities and a greater respect for other’s religions.

Gathering our shoes from where we’d left them upon entering the Mosque, conversations continued as people slowly left the service. Many of us glanced over to the now white-washed board covering the broken window knowing it could happen at any of the places we consider to be our sanctuaries. And we realized we lived in perilous times and this is not a time to be silent.

Fear and ignorance visited Little Rest Thursday night. It has been a horrific week around our world once again. Eighty-four dead, two hundred innocent human beings injured in Nice. And next week the Republican National Convention convenes in Cleveland. Calling themselves “the law and order party”, republican leaders are trying to divide us by sowing the seeds of fear and ignorance with their rhetoric. We need to counter this rhetoric with our own – our belief that with diversity comes enrichment. This is truly not the time for any of us to be silent.

As-salamu alaykum – Peace be upon you.

 

 

 

 

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105 thoughts on “Peace Be Upon You

  1. Peace to all…I am so sorry for what happened to your Muslim neighbors…yes, we need to be vocal and speak to protect…to share understanding…to be thankful for the diversity which brings us so much enrichment…we cannot be silent when our sister and brother need us…thank you for reminding us with your words and for sharing this story, as unfortunate a happening that it is…it is good your community came together in prayer and peace. A model for us all…

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Every week I think I will take time from posting on my blog and work on my book. And every week something happens to cause me to write how I’m feeling. Just before we left the service today, we were asked to tell people about our gathering and our sense of unity in the face of hatred. We all pledged not to be silent in the face of hate crimes against others. And so I came home to write yet another post about our life and times here in the US – a perilous time for us all. Thank you for your visit and your comments.

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  2. God Bless You Clare for writing this .
    We must not keep silent . These are indeed perilous times and we must work hard at spreading peace and understanding of the other , we can’t let fear of the unknown and/or ignorance be used against our neighbours and just watch and do nothing .
    Turtle Hugs

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  3. The world seems to be driven by hatred, more so than I can ever remember in my 62 years here. Actions like the one you describe here are, sadly, all too common and, to my mind, derive from a basic level of ignorance on which racism and hatred can feed. When our political leaders also feed this, it is difficult to remain hopeful for our future.

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    1. Clive, ignorance certainly has become the opposite of bliss lately. But being in the mosque with people who are intent on fighting this ignorance with their actions made me feel the hope that exists in people’s hearts. And I feel the same way when I communicate with people like you through our blog posts. I see a world not so dark as the one the nightly news portrays for us. I am hoping your Sunday is a peaceful one and thank you, again, for your thoughts and your comments. Clare

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  4. Thank you, Clare, for this moving and uplifting post. You are so right – we must not keep silent.

    However, I will be silent for a while as I’m taking a week out to get soem writing done – in a caravan by the sea. It doesn’t matter what the weather is like as I’m there to write. I want to get started on turning the goldfish blog into a book – it all needs to be restructured somehow. I’ll be back, though 🙂

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    1. You’re welcome, Mary. A week in a caravan, writing sounds marvelous and quite productive, too. I’m glad you’re going to make your experiences with your Dad into a book. He will always live on forever through the words you share with us. Have a peaceful week. Clare

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    1. Bernadette, I sat in the Mosque feeling confident we could overcome much of the hatred in the world if every community took each racist act and unified together like this to let their feelings be heard above the hatred.Small beginnings with large rewards. I’ll post this Wednesday on Senior Salon. Thanks. Clare

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  5. Thank you Clare for sharing this wonderful post about you and your neighbors who represent all of our communities. Love, acceptance, understanding – important words, important actions. Have a great weekend. 🙂

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  6. So sorry to hear of this appalling incident within your community, Clare. Bigotry, xenophobia, racism, and all hues of intolerance run through all strata of society, and quite disgracefully we see it tacitly, even overtly, endorsed in the Republican candidacy. The Far Right and Fascism are also on the rise in Europe, once again. Let us hope that sanity prevails, that enlightened leadership wins out, and that empathy and tolerance are rediscovered, as exemplified in your religious and secular group’s wonderful actions.

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    1. Hariod, being with all of those caring people in the Mosque helped restore some of my hope for human kind. Yes, what you are saying is, unfortunately, very true. this is not just an isolated problem, but a world-wide threat to sanity. It certainly has awakened us to the threat of losing what we have held dear for so long. I believe if small groups like the one I was part of on Saturday, keep uniting together, enlightened leadership will follow. We shall see soon enough, though. Thank you for making my Sunday brighter. Clare

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  7. People perish for lack of knowledge and understanding. It’s a shame the way some folks behave these days. We must continue to speak up. Hate only breeds more hate. It’s a good thing that your community came together to address this. Well done

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    1. Thank you, Jacqueline. This is a topic you and many bloggers have been writing and commenting about lately and I’m sure it will make a difference in our future choices of leaders for all of our countries. Your friend, Clare

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  8. The way you all responded to the hate-attack is remarkable! Only through such combined effects and understanding can we fight this and we all need to strengthen our forces as attacks as these and much more large scale ones are becoming more and more frequent. People should understand that this is never the answer to anything.

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      1. You make me feel like a kid! 😀 And yes, all is good here… the vacations are about to end soon and I’ve been quite busy this time. I’m planning for a post to tell all about it! Do read it!

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  9. Ignorance is the sorriest weapon of all and it is ignorance that inspires such mindless and cruel attacks upon the peaceful. The attack in Nice must not be bracketed in the same basket … these were the actions of a sick mind but not prompted by any religious nor political motive. I put it in the same place as the German Wings pilot who flew his plane full of passengers into an Alp last year. Sadly, tragically there will always be people suffering from such acute mental issues that we are powerless to understand what can possibly be going on in their minds. In terms of the elections – the fact that the attacker in France was Tunisian must not be allowed to play to the fear of Americans who will then flock to a war-mongering Republican rhetoric.

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    1. Osyth, So many sad events throughout our world. But we have much in which to be joyful, too. I think people are beginning to understand the toll mental illness, in all its forms, takes on people. There are movements here in the US to finally deal with this in a compassionate way. I am hoping you are feeling better and on the mend from your accident. Take care and we’ll see each other very soon, I hope. Clare

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      1. We do indeed and I agree that finally, so many years after The Fisher King (and after mental illness took the quite wonderful Robin Williams) there are green shoots starting with people being willing to stand up as the one in three who will be afflicted at some point in their life. Progress indeed and good news 🙂

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  10. And upon you, My Friend. I can see why you are proud to live in such a town full of natural beauty and the beauty of the human spirit. May the perpetrator become enlightened for himself and the world. May he find peace and love within himself and the world. May his pain be replaced by kindness.

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  11. Reblogged this on Practically Wise and commented:
    A movement for positive change is afoot! Another blogger, Claremary of Around ZuZu’s Barn, writes of members in her community who refused to be silent in the wake of a hate crime, a vandalism of a Muslim mosque. I was particularly struck by how one of the members of the mosque “wanted to bring the vandal into his home to share a meal and get to know his family. He felt it was the only way to fight the ignorance which was at the base of this racist act and all of the other hate acts that seem to be filling our world today.”

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I reblogged your excellent post, Claremary, at https://practicallywise.wordpress.com with the following comment:

    A movement for positive change is afoot! Another blogger, Claremary of Around ZuZu’s Barn, writes of members in her community who refused to be silent in the wake of a hate crime, a vandalism of a Muslim mosque. I was particularly struck by how one of the members of the mosque “wanted to bring the vandal into his home to share a meal and get to know his family. He felt it was the only way to fight the ignorance which was at the base of this racist act and all of the other hate acts that seem to be filling our world today.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nancy – Everyone of the members of that community said they forgave him and we all agreed that education was our only hope out of this abyss we seem to have fallen into. The college and the local high school have all ready instituted a course on global culture and are trying to get it placed in other schools.Yes, the only way I personally can find to deal with all of this hatred is at a local level, one community at a time – a movement for positive change. It’s why I am blogging about it and I thank you so much for the reblog. It will help further the goal of creating a positive change in our communities and in our world. Clare

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We are a town built around a university, so that has made quite a difference. Many of the members of the Mosque are students and teachers who believe deeply in education. And they have been active in creating global studies programs at the university and the high school. Now they are encouraging our state leaders to extend these studies into other schools. Also, my Church is directly across from the university and our pastor has enabled our congregation to form a bond with other religious and LGBD groups. All of this has provided a firm basis for creating an atmosphere of compassion for others. I think that is why we were so shocked at what happened last week. Again, thank you for sharing this with your friends, Nancy.

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      2. Sadly I think that speaks to the magnitude of the problems revolving around prejudice, intolerance and racism here in the U.S., that incidents like this can happen even in a community that prides itself on its awareness and diversity. However, we must keep hope alive by remaining proactive and connected. This has been a good chat. Have a lovely day, Clare!

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  13. Hiya Clare > Sorry to look at things on such a practical level but were the vandals caught? Are they likely to come back again? Humans get set in their ways. Its hard for humans to change their opinions and ways of doing and looking at things. I doubt that the vandals feel any regret or acknowledge that most of us are brothers and sisters of the same human race. Most likely they are fueling themselves for the next venting of hate. Aside from this > I hope you are well Clare. Happy star gazing

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    1. Hi Andy! No leads so far. But I have my theories:
      1 guy, 20ish, possibly a student who lives nearby and resents the Mosque being in the neighborhood.He was seen running off with an ax in his hand. I think it may even be a student. Whoever it was spelled Muhammad and prophet correctly – very telling.I wouldn’t be surprised if he attended the service on Saturday.
      Yes, I am quite well, and have been spending my time being lucky and naughty! Take care and keep working on that book. When you have time, I need to query you on Storyboards. Clare

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Your a natural detective Clare. Any guilty looking or illusive neighbours walking around? RE storyboarding > anytime though my way is my way and I havent looked at anyone elses way of doing it. I discovered that years of planning (my no1 skill) suddenly came into fruition > like everything that I am was meant to be within me for that reason. I did everything in A4 lined books and pencil to start off with then went out and bought two huge blank sketchbooks and drew in timelines for each book. I think everything about the project should be done with love passion and beauty.

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  14. ….and Peace be Upon You, too!
    Like many, many other American Muslims, the first reaction to an event such as the one in Nice is an automatic prayer – “Oh God, please do not let this perpetrator be Muslim”. These days, God is not answering that prayer a whole lot.
    Thank you, my friend, for taking the time to bond with people of a different faith. A warm, comforting feeling welled up in me while reading your post.

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    1. I can’t imagine how frightening it must be for Muslims in our country right now. We all have a responsibility to let them know they are not alone in this and that saner voices will prevail so that they can walk outside in the sunshine without fear. I grew up Catholic and we were discouraged from learning about other faiths, but the pastor of the Congregational Church Charley and I now attend is a wonderful man and is leading us all to do the right thing for human beings of all faiths and life styles.It is very enlightening for me. And you are very welcome, my friend.

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  15. The greatest strength is when people come together from all religions to fight intolerance. I’m sorry this happened in your community but there is that strength there to hopefully overcome it.

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  16. Oh, Clare, I’m so sorry that this happened, and yet, encouraged that in the aftermath of an eruption of evil in your lovely little community, good triumphed. One of my favorite quotes has always been Burke’s, “The only necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.” In your meeting, in your dialogue, in your embrace of your Muslim neighbors and their welcome to all of you, your community reclaimed good from evil. And as Bonhoeffer asserted, we must speak, we must act, lest God hold us accountable for our complicit silence. Bravo, Kingson, well done. Jo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jo,. Again, I was not going to do a post until this happened and we were asked to share it with others. I’m so glad I did. The comments have been heartening and I know other people would do the right thing should this happen in their communities. It isn’t a time for silence and we all know that now. I wonder how all is going in NC for you. Have a peaceful weekend. Clare

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  17. Gosh, what a moving, evocative piece, Clare! And, what a horrific happening right in your town. Yuck. I’m so sorry, and sad to see these sorts of hate crimes. However, the way your community is pulling together is inspirational. You’re right, it is time we all speak out about what’s right.

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    1. It’s happening everywhere, Yvette and I think many people are finding their voices to join together and combat it. I really feel much of it started when Trump began his hateful, racist tirades and people began to believe that this was okay. He is toxic and many see the emerging similarities with the Nazis in Germany leading up to WWII. It is no time to be silent here in the US. Clare

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      1. This is what you and your community did when faced with the tragic event that occurred. What some little idiot (most likely Republican) did was so wrong but you all stood together and “Gave Peace a Chance”
        My hats off to all of you in the community for doing the right thing.

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  18. what a great piece of writing. It says an awful lot for your community. Great thing to do and I am sure everyone felt better for doing it. I also like the way you went to each others places of worship to learn more about each other and to share a meal. Little things but so important.

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    1. Thanks, Jackie. I really do love learning more about cultures, religions and traditions. This is an interesting community for that with the state college right here on our doorstep. And you must feel the same way with your school. How’s the vacation plans going? I’m glad you didn’t get tickets for Turkey. Maybe next year. Clare

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      1. Bumped into Mr ( and Mrs) Wu at the local Farmers Market. He said he is too old to work now, but I can see that he was flattered to be asked. Its been a manic summer but somewhat quiet without ” Wuisms” or should that be ” Wu-isms”?

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    1. I am proud of the people in this community. It’s built around the state university which has encouraged foreign exchange students and professors, so we have many cultures represented. And I agree with you about good coming from something – if you have the patience to wait a little while to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Wishing you a peaceful Sunday, Robyn. Your friend, Clare

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    1. You’re welcome, Carolyn. It is a wonderful community. I knew I was going to make it my home when I first came to the University in 1967. For a small village, there is so much to write about and share. Thanks for stopping by and for your thoughtful comment. Clare

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    1. I checked my blog and it’s still there. When I first wrote it, it was published before corrections, so I put it into private and made the changes and reposted. Maybe something happened to that repost. But it’s still up on my sight. Thanks for the heads up, and I’ll see if others have had problems. Bonne Vacance, Mon Amie!

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  19. What a wonderful post, Clare, so very supportive of the Muslims in of your community. We have many towns and cities in the UK where communities of different faiths live together. Most of the time there is peace between them all, but at other times, hatred and violence flares. Like you, I long for the time when we can all live together in acceptance and understanding of each other’s beliefs. Your supportive community is to be praised and admired.

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    1. Thank you, Millie. I really like living in South Kingstown where I went to college back in the late sixties. It was a much smaller community the time, but has grown in the intervening years. It’s still a very caring place, although I am using it as the setting for my murder mysteries! I’ve been spending the last two days editing it after not touching it for months. I think I’ve done a good job, but really feel I need an objective editor to read and make corrections I may have missed. I’m very happy I took a break and found you here. Clare

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      1. Hi Clare. Yes, I’d always advise having an editor to look over your work. We all tend to miss things in our own writing that others pick out immediately! Our own eyes gloss over mistakes and we see what we think we’ve written instead. The trouble with me is I put more typos in after the book’s been edited! I’ve had a few to correct that weren’t there when I initially sent the ms to the editor! I also have a habit of missing off closing speech marks. Hopeless case, that’s me. Fortunately my mistakes are rarely grammatical or spellings – other than typos.
        It must be wonderful for you to be living in a place with so many happy memories. It looks a very homely town.

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