A recent attack against a Mosque in the Oregon town of Corvallis is revealing another side of the American people, and that is concern. Showing their support for an Islamic center that was partially destroyed by an arson attack after it acknowledged that a 19-year-old Muslim, now charged as a terrorist, had occasionally worshipped there.
Mohamed Osman Mohamud pleaded not guilty this week in federal court in Portland to the charge of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. Authorities say Mohamud and an FBI operative he was working with parked a van full of explosives on a block in the city of Corvallis, where thousands of people were expected to gather for the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Mohamud is accused of attempting to detonate the explosives during this event.
The arson attack against the Mosque happened after it was revealed that Mohamud had attended the Salman Alfarisi Islamic Center.
The attack against the Mosque was clearly revenge motivated, however, in the parking lot in front of the charred Mosque there was a growing cluster of flowers and cards, offering support to the Mosque, in the wake of what religious leaders and community members say is an abhorrent act of arson. "This shouldn't happen here — it shouldn't happen anywhere — but Corvallis is a wonderful, open community," Laurie Holst, a resident of the town for 25 years, told the local news networks.
"This is as abhorrent as what happened in Portland — this is just wrong, it shouldn't happen anywhere," she continued. "I want these folks that worship here to know that this is not Corvallis."
The Corvallis Gazette Times reported that 45 people attended a meeting this week to voice their anger and disbelief at the arson attack took place against the Mosque and that they viewed this as an act of intolerance which must be condemned. Bediuzzaman Said Nursi once said, “What gives life to people is hope, while what kills them is despair.”
Said Nursi reminds us of the fact that hope is tied to our acceptance to the fact that Allah promised that “the future belongs to Islam” and “its ruler shall be the truths of the Qur’an and belief” (DS, p. 27).
The enemies of Islam will burn another Mosque and profess that the actions of death perpetrated by a Muslim are the actions of the whole of Islam. The enemies of Islam will never win this battle of the mind because such message does not ring true with most people. This is evident by the show of support given to the burned Mosque in the City of Corvallis, USA.
It appears that the people of Corvallis are taking a terrorist action aimed at Islam as a way to spread hope rather than spreading despair.
There is a strength rooted in religious faith that no human dogma can replace. Values rooted in faith in Allah - an appreciation of human dignity, the strength that comes from a commitment to follow Allah’s will to “compete in doing good,” - are strengths that give genuine hope for a more humane, just, civilized and prosperous future.
This is Islam!