BURLINGTON — It happened again.
For the fourth time in five years, Munir Gandevia and the Islamic Center of Burlington were left reeling after another incident of vandalism, each one of them larger in scale than the last. Early Sunday morning members found an entire wall of the mosque covered with eggs and red spray-paint that read “USA.”
Gandevia and his congregation were disappointed.
“What happened was unexpected and unbelievable,” Gandevia, the mosque’s president, said Wednesday. “We are proud Americans, and this is our land.”
On Wednesday, about 50 town religious leaders, politicians, and community members gathered for a united interfaith event at the mosque, called “We are Americans.”
The purpose of the event was to “retag” the mosque’s eggshell-colored walls with positive messages that showed the Muslim community’s true inclusive nature, leaders said. Supporters signed posters of good will, and mosque leaders displayed 12 encouraging e-mails from area well-wishers.
But the event also served a different purpose, to reassert Burlington’s Muslim population as equal partners in their local community, state, and nation. The American Civil Liberties Union has tracked at least 75 anti-mosque incidents nationwide since 2006.