The Muslim Students’ Association at ASU and the Islamic Community Center of Tempe have organized several “interfaith love” events after two women were charged with felony burglary and a possible hate crime after they posted a video of themselves and their children opening the community center mosque’s gate, taking pamphlets and flyers and insulting Islam.
Two days after the event, the ICC held an interfaith “Love and Coffee” event inviting non-Muslims into the mosque and helping to educate them about the Islamic faith. According to Ahmad Al-Akoum, the interfaith and outreach director at ICC, there were over 200 people in attendance.
Al-Akoum was emotional describing the event and the support the mosque has received from the community.
“We wanted to bring as much love in the face of the hate and bigotry, and it was overwhelming,” Al-Akoum said. “It was a big, beautiful display of love and tolerance and understanding. I believe we got our message out.”
Johnny Martin, a religious studies senior and founder of Sun Devils Are Better Together, is a white American Muslim who converted to the religion. He said the viewpoints of the women who attacked the mosque are familiar to him.
“I have family members who have the same Islamophobia that would compel someone to do something so drastic and disrespectful,” Martin said. “This is something that terrorizes the Islamic community.”
MSA is organizing an Islam Awareness Week that includes several interfaith events where non-Muslims can learn about the Islamic faith. MSA hopes the events will help destigmatize Islam.