Only days after a mosque near Austin, Texas, was vandalized, community members are responding with messages of solidarity.
The Islamic Center of Pflugerville was desecrated in the wake of the Paris attacks. A member found a torn, feces-covered Quran near the entrance on the morning of Monday, November 16. The following photos from an Austin-based reporter show the grizly damage:
Police: Vandal tears page from Quran & dumps "large amount of feces on it" @ Islamic Center of Pflugerville @keyetv pic.twitter.com/aDU1n3xGHl
— Nadia Galindo (@NadiaKEYE) November 16, 2015
Police confirmed to news outlets that they are investigating the vandalism as a hate crime.
Since Monday, non-Muslim community members have taken action to show their support and condemn hate. One resident, Karen Domínguez Burke, is organizing a celebration of the community’s diversity tomorrow to stand against the vandalism and bring together various religious groups. The event is being promoted by several religious institutions in the area, including churches, and the Facebook event description addresses this pluralism:
Pflugerville is a diverse and welcoming community. We are appalled at the vandalism that occurred at our community mosque. We are an open community who respects all faiths. Racism and Islamophobia has no place here! We are gathering to show our support for our neighbors.
The action that gained the most attention from press worldwide came from a 7-year-old boy. After hearing about the desecration, Jack Swanson emptied his piggy bank and gave the $20 he had collected to a member of the mosque’s board during a television interview. Swanson has since been gifted with an iPad Mini, sent from "the American Muslim Community."
Texas is one of a growing number of states whose governors are trying to ban Syrian refugees from settling. While some could argue that they are getting more press than the vandalism itself, these acts of solidarity show that not all Texans stand with their governor’s policies.