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Sunday, December 6, 2015

People of many faiths rally in support of Muslim community



About 200 people from a cross-section of faiths gathered at a rally Dec. 5 at the First Christian Church in Seven Corners and marched along Route 7 to the Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center to show solidarity in the wake of terrorism, counter hate against the Muslim community, and express compassion for the refugees fleeing violence in Syria.

“We are blessed to have a robust faith response, a response of good well,” Imam Johari Abdul-Malik told the crowd. “No matter what others may say, there is great power in our unity.”


Imam Johari Abdul-Malik of Dar Al-Hijrah thanks the crowd for their support.
“We are going to stand together,” he said. There hasn’t been one prophet, or guide, or messenger from any of the world’s religions “that didn’t extend a greeting of peace.”

The crowd included representatives from about 30 congregations – Muslim, Presbyterian, Jewish, Episcopalian, Unitarian, Catholic, Disciples of Christ, and others.

The event was organized by VOICE (Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement) so “our brothers and sisters at the mosque can see that we’re here with them and they are not alone,” said VOICE Executive Director Alisa Glassman.

“We believe in the theology of love. It is stronger than the theology of fear,” Glassman said. “Today is a reminder of who we are and who our better selves are.”

“We are going to scare people who believe division and polarization is the answer,” said Rev. Kathleen Moore of First Christian Church. “We will scare them with love. We love our neighbors.” 
“We welcome refugees. Jesus was a refugee. Our whole country was founded by refugees,” Moore said.

People representing many faiths march together along Leesburg Pike.
“It’s important to be able to stand with our Muslim brothers and sisters to show compassion to the refugees fleeing violence,” said Rebecca Messman, associate pastor at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Herndon.

“The Statue of Liberty has no statute of limitations,” Messman said. Jesus urged his followers to accept those who speak different languages and have different skin tones and different prayers, she said. “We dare to proclaim: Love drives out fear.”

Many of those who came to the rally brought blankets to be added to the huge amount of blankets and coats donated by Dar Al-Hijrah members for refugee camps abroad. There were so many, in fact, the mosque had to order a second truck.

When asked why she came to the rally, Khaji Adbi, an immigrant from Ghana, said she wants people to know Muslims feel bad about terrorism, too. “We don’t want to hurt anybody. We are not them.”

Thoraia Husein, a native of Sudan who joined the march with her six children, said “all of us came as immigrants or refugees. It’s sad to see the country we love turn its back on suffering.”

Carol Pine, of a Unitarian Universalist church said participating in the rally “is a way to witness our faith,“ and Geoffrey Megargee of Arlington, who said he’s not religious and not a church member, said he came because, “I felt it was time to get off Facebook and do something more concrete.” Tanice Francis of Alexandria, who brought 10 blankets, said many people had helped her in the past, so she wanted to help others.


When asked about the hate crime at the mosque Nov. 19 – someone threw a Molotov cocktail and two smoke bombs onto the parking lot – c said the man arrested “is also a victim.” He was motivated by anger and frustration, has mental health issues, and was “emotionally acting out,” he said, but was not part of a hate group and is not dangerous.

According to a news report on WTOP, local elected leaders gathered for a prayer service at Dar Al-Hiajrah Dec. 4 to show support for the mosque and condemn hate crimes against Muslims.

Abdul-Malik said area imams plan to get together to work on a long-term strategy to build community. VOICE is also hosting additional interfaith gatherings throughout the region along with PATH (People Acting Together in Howard anx metro affiliates of the Industrial Areas Foundation.

People fill a truck with blankets and coats for Syrian refugees.

16 comments:

  1. I didn't hear about this until after it had already happened. I wish I had--I would have brought my family. I'm glad it looks like there was a decent turn out.

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  2. I think the Imams throughout the country could help assuage fear if they went public and renounced the terrorists. Why are the Imams so silent?

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    1. You're not listening. They're not getting front page coverage, but those things are happening. Sorry you have to look for it, but that's the media's fault, not the Islamic community.

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    2. The silence is deafening. Not one word of sorrow for the slaughter in San Bernardino can be found on the website, twitter feed or instagram of the Dar Al-Hijrah Mosque in Falls Church. Instead, what we see is photos of a PR event selfishly focused on themselves. Astonishing.

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    3. I don't get why the Muslim community has to apologize for these criminals. These are terrorists hiding behind a doctrine that only shares a tenuous thread with the core tenets of Islam. I don't see Christians apologizing for the planned parenthood shooting, and I don't think should have to either for the exact same reason.

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    4. Who asked for an apology?

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    5. I think you know what I meant; they're required to condemn these things because their silence is interpreted as assent.

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  3. Did everyone forget that this Mosque Dar Al-Hijrah has direct ties since before 9/11 to terrorism. A simple google search will bring up many articles regarding this mosque. I would be in support of this rally if it was in support of the victims or against Terrorism. There are more hate crimes against jews then there are against Muslims. There are more hate crimes against Christians overseas then there are against Muslims.

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    1. So since there are more hate crimes against others, it doesn't matter that there are hate crimes and a recent rise of hate speech against Muslims? Can we only oppose one form of hate speech? Is our ability to call for human decency limited by quota? Yours might be. Mine is not.

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    2. My question is why was the rally not for the victims or against terrioism? I would like to see the Muslim Community stand up against Islamic Terrorism and against ISIS.

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    3. And I presume you regularly attend these kinds of rallies yourself 8:06? Otherwise that might be a bit, I don't know, hypocritical.

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    4. Adam, I think yo're on to something. I'm guessing that 8:06 hasn't attended any rally of this sort. Otherwise, s/he would likely know that the speakers, organizers, and attendees of events like this one usually DO recognize the complexities of improving relationships between all people and encourage coming together for the benefit of everyone.

      OP: your attitude is right in line with the eye-for-an-eye mindset of revenge and "justifiable" violence that extremists of all stripes live--and die--for. Keep up the good work.

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  4. Here is a link to hate crimes by religion that was posted on NBC News from FBI stats.http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/jewish-center-shootings/snapshot-hate-crime-america-numbers-n81521

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    1. So, is there a specific point you're trying to make, or are you just offering some information?

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  5. Were there any non-Muslims present?

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    1. Yes. Did you read the article (and look at the pictures?)

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