Monday, April 30, 2018

USA: He shot up a mosque, now preaches against hate in Seattle


"Hate's one of those things that sneaks up on you. It doesn't just happen overnight. It's a slow progression. And looking back and reading my Facebook posts, and I'm like, 'Wow, this is me?'

Times of Ahmad | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: King 5 News
By Ryan Takeo | April 28, 2018

A man who thought he was fighting terrorism realized he only became what he despised.

An unlikely friendship was on display in Seattle Saturday night.

Ted Hakey Jr. pleaded guilty to shooting at a Connecticut mosque in 2015.

"That was the night of the Paris attacks," he explained. "I was out drinking and came back and looked next door I was right next door to the mosque for 10 years.

"I looked over and said, 'What am I going to do about this?' and I had no idea if there were any extremists and I wanted to scare them. I wanted to send a message."

Hakey fired four shots into the Ahmadiyya Baitul Aman Mosque next door.

"I was like, no, if you're a Muslim, you're a terrorist and I was a hater," he said Saturday. "I was reading in the paper and they basically called it a terrorist attack. And I said, 'Wait a minute here, the thing that I hated the most I had just become."

Hakey explained that what he got back was forgiveness from the mosque's leaders.

"They're like, you're sorry. You made a mistake. You're good," he said.

Hakey still served six months in prison for the hate crime, even though the mosque leaders asked he not spend any time in federal prison.

"We couldn't be from more different sections of society, and yet we found common ground," said Zahir Mannan, one of the mosque's leaders who forgave Hakey.

Saturday Hakey told a crowd at Seattle's Garfield Community Center that he was misinformed.

"Hate's one of those things that sneaks up on you. It doesn't just happen overnight. It's a slow progression. And looking back and reading my Facebook posts, and I'm like, 'Wow, this is me?'

"And that's why I tell people, I say you need to look into it if you have any hatred of Islam. You really need to do a little bit of homework, because you're wrong," he told the crowd, adding just five minutes of conversation is all it takes.


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