On Tuesday, community members stood outside of Masjid Abubakar Siddiq, the mosque in downtown Rochester, during prayer times. This is in response to the “Punish a Muslim Day” letters.
Muslims pray five times a day. At each prayer time, someone was outside of the Rochester mosque’s doors greeting people, holding the door open, and having conversations with prayer-goes. Around 1 PM, Pastor Carl-Eric Gentes and Pastor Charlie Leonard of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Rochester manned the doorway.
Pastor Gentes and Pastor Leonard were appalled by the threats made against Muslims in the U.K. “I was surprised that this sort of thing actually happens and that word of this got so close to home—so I wanted to be here,” explained Leonard.
They stayed outside of the front door for about an hour while people prayed inside. They hoped that their presence would help the Rochester Muslim community feel secure and comfortable during prayer, despite the threatening letters. “I’m sure that’s still in the back of the mind of many people worshipping today, and no one needs to worship with that concern in the back of their mind,” said Gentes.