ROCHESTER, Minn. – A heartwarming response to a heartbreaking incident.
Community members, including leaders from area churches and Mayor Ardell Brede, gathered outside of Masjed Abubakr Al-Seddig Sunday morning after bacon was left outside the mosque on Saturday. A second vigil was held Sunday afternoon.
Abdi Fatah Abdi prays at the mosque often.
“It's disappointing, but a lot of people make greater mistakes that are forgiving, anyone can forgive,” he said.
Disappoint was a common reaction among people who attended the vigil.
“I was appalled, simply appalled. It made me really sad,” Charlie Leonard, lead pastor at Good Shepard Lutheran Church, said.
“The simple fact of ignorance, people not knowing, being afraid of somebody different than them,” Colin Lange of Rochester said.
The vigil included statements, songs, a moment of silence, and signs showing support for the Muslim community in Rochester.
“They are community members,” Leonard said. ‘They contribute to our community, they contribute to the good fabric of Rochester.”
People who participated in the vigil hope this one-day event, creates a momentum for more inclusivity. For Lange, that meant bringing his two kids.
“If they can start being kind at such a young age and learn that everybody's different but the same, then the sky's the limit,” he said.
For others, it’s starting conversation.
“Rochester has a history of bringing patients here from all over the world to care for them. I think that speaks loudly to us as a community to care for each other in the community,” Leonard said. “I hope the time here this morning is an invitation to everyone in the Rochester community to come together.”
“I wish people would put in effort to come and meet each other, it would make a lot of difference…to learn what other cultures do.” Abdi said. “I hope our community sees our community is here, and I appreciate it. We all appreciate it and I say thank you for everybody.”
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