Community Shows Support for Vandalized Nashville Mosque
By Emily Luxen
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - An act of vandalism at a Nashville mosque results in an outpouring of support from the community.
The regular Monday evening prayer service at the Al-Farooq mosque featured a big crowd of people from other mosques, neighbors and community leaders. Mosque leaders said the community support is proof something good can come from the evil act.
"Your presence here is a good answer to this event," said Dr. Mohamed Badawi. "This event has done nothing but bring us all together.
Metro police have arrested 27-year-old Kyler Wilson in connection to the vandalism. Police said Monday at 3:30 a.m., Wilson broke into the mosque, shattered windows, knocked over furniture, and busted the windshields of two vehicles parked outside.
Police found Wilson sleeping in a vehicle near the mosque wearing only boxer shorts. Wilson told detectives that he drank heavily the previous night and did not remember anything from the incident. He also said he has no animosity toward any religion or group. Wilson is charged with burglary and felony vandalism.
No one was hurt, and mosque members were able to work quickly to repair the broken windows.
"It was the everyday Nashville commuters who checked on us, and some even cut a check for the damage," said Mohamed Shukri Hassan.
Long-time members said the incident reminded them of a previous act of vandalism at Al-Farooq almost exactly three years ago. In 2010, someone spray painted "Muslims Go Home" on the building.
"This should not be happening," said Remziya Suleyman, the Director of policy with American Center for Outreach. " What kind of message are we sending about ourselves as Tennesseans?"
Mosque members said they take the vandalism very seriously and hope the community can continue to move beyond these types of actions.
"We are going to move forward," said Suleyman. "We will overcome this."
Nashville police and the FBI continue to investigate the incident. All activities at the mosque will continue as scheduled.