Wednesday, March 15, 2017

USA: Connecticut's Meriden mosque wins Spirit of Meriden award


The Baitul Aman “House of Peace” Mosque in South Meriden is part of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, which espouses “love for all, hatred for none.”

Times of Ahmad | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: My Record-Journal
By Editorial | March 15, 2017

This is not an easy time to be a Muslim in America. Ever since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, this country has been at various stages of war with certain small but violent groups of jihadists, including ISIS and al-Qaeda, in various parts of the world. And since January, President Donald Trump has imposed travel bans on several predominantly Muslim countries, although it remains to be seen whether the federal courts will let that stand.

In Meriden, by contrast, relations between the community and the Baitul Aman Mosque have been a model of civility and community harmony — due mainly to the actions of the mosque leadership — resulting in the mosque receiving the Spirit of Meriden award recently from the City Council.

The Baitul Aman “House of Peace” Mosque in South Meriden is part of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, which espouses “love for all, hatred for none.” This was demonstrated most dramatically in November 2015, on the same night as the terrorist attacks that took 130 lives in Paris, when shots were fired into the South Meriden mosque by a neighbor, Ted Hakey Jr. The building was empty and no one was hurt.

Hakey pleaded guilty to a federal hate crime and apologized to members of the mosque, who forgave him and asked the court to spare him from serving time in prison. “He’s had a change of heart,” the president of the mosque, Mohammed Qureshi, said at the time.

In presenting the award, Mayor Kevin Scarpati praised the mosque for its continuous community outreach, and Police Chief Jeffry Cossette thanked the members for donating tourniquets to every member of the police force. “I can’t thank you enough and it’s a great asset to our citizens,” the chief said. The mosque has also sponsored blood drives, and in January held an interfaith service with Meriden’s Unitarian Universalist Church.

These are not the actions of a group of people that anyone should be afraid of. Rather, they have answered gunfire by turning the other cheek and redoubling their outreach to the community. “We’re looking forward to continue to build bridges,” said a representative of the mosque.

That’s the spirit, and we trust it will be reciprocated.


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