Read news articles here and here and here, and also here.
After overcoming legal hurdles and threats and vandalism, the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro opened yesterday for Friday prayers during the holiest month in Islam, Ramadan.
Insha'Allah, it will be open for a long, long time.
My interactions with Muslims here in Murfreesboro have always been pleasant. When I worked for an all-female doctor's office, a large number of patients were Muslim. In fact I saw one of them yesterday at Dillard's, although I didn't speak to her (wasn't sure if she would remember me... my hair has grown quite a bit and it was like two years ago) I did say hello to her sweet mother who helps look after her children. She sat with the young ones while her daughter was shopping around in the kid's dept.--she's had at least one more since the last time I saw them! My church has held a few events with them also, although I wasn't able to attend.
Around the world in Hong Kong I lived down the street from the Kowloon mosque. I walked by it every day, even went inside during one of our interfaith group meetings. We got some strange looks but did our best to stand in the back and observe respectfully. What I saw were people dedicated to their faith, worshiping God with their voices and their bodies. Kneeling, standing, saying prayers... The workers from Indonesia who were Muslim always welcomed me with open arms and showed me great hospitality anytime I was in Victoria Park.
It saddens me that otherwise rational and loving people get riled up with fear and anger due to misinformation or ignorance. I wish they would go and visit with their neighbors and see that they are not a threat, they are peaceful people who just want to worship in their own space and have a place for their community to gather.
Hopefully I will be able to attend the open house when it occurs. I would really like to see the new mosque and visit with my fellow citizens.
And to the guy in the "I Love Jesus" hat who said he was there in protest to "represent the Christians" -- no sir. You do not represent me. I am a Christian and I support my Muslim brothers and sisters in their faith and their right as Americans to practice the religion of their choice.