As a police escort led the funeral procession for Marine Staff Sgt. David Wyatt to the Chattanooga National Cemetery, people in the Islamic Society of Greater Chattanooga mosque bowed their heads in prayer.
And as thousands lined the streets of Chattanooga to wave American flags, hold signs and salute as the hearse passed them by, a small group of non-Muslims lined the back wall of the prayer room of the mosque to offer support for the local Islamic community. On July 16, Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez, 24, from a local Muslim family, fatally shot four Marines at a Navy/Marine operations center and mortally wounded a Navy sailor.
The guests who joined local Muslims for prayers were mainly Baptists, with at least one Presbyterian. They came with their children in tow.
“We just want to show them that we love them,” said a Baptist man who asked not to be named.
Three mothers brought their children to show them not to fear what they didn’t understand. Their little girls wrapped their hair in bright plaid and flowered scarves as a sign of respect before entering the women’s prayer room. The men worship in a separate room, but all can see the imam at the front of the congregation.