A small mosque in Louisville KY was vandalized last Wednesday. Members of the mosque discovered the graffiti as they arrived for evening prayer. The vandals spray painted hateful words on walls and doors outside of the mosque. The local police are searching for the vandals which is made harder because security cameras at the mosque don’t work. The FBI is investigating the situation as a hate crime. However, if the vandals intention was to drive feelings of isolation into the congregants, the opposite has actually been the result.
On Thursday, the mayor of Louisville, Greg Fischer held a press conference in front of the vandalized mosque. He was joined by a cross section of Louisville’s religious leadership. During the meeting the mayor said that the attack was an attack on everyone in Louisville, not just the members of the Islamic Center. The director of the local Jewish Community Relations Council spoke to aspects of the messages in the vandalism pertaining to Jews and the Stars of David. As he stood next to the Islamic Center’s spokesman he said, “This will bring us closer together. So my message is to the perpetrator: We win and you lose.”
The fact that Hebrew, the Star of David, and other Jewish references were painted on the mosque is particularly disturbing. While we do yet know the identity of the perpetrators, we unequivocally condemn this cowardly act of hatred. An attack on any house of worship is an attack on all who value religious freedom.
The Anti-defemation League
On Friday almost 1000 people gathered at the Islamic Center to help paint over the vandalism. Once again local religious and political leaders held a press conference as the leaders of the Islamic center expressed joy and thanksgiving for the huge show of support. Not everyone got to paint, but everyone got to show their support and solidarity by their presence.
The images are screenshots from video broadcast by WDBR 41 News.