I read a very short article this morning that reported that a mosque in Iowa was vandalized yesterday, with the vandals shattering five of the mosque's windows. The police stated that it didn't appear the vandals had entered the mosque and nothing was taken. Additionally, the article did not state if there were any suspects or what, if any, motivation was behind the vandalism.
To be honest, after reading the article nothing really struck me as all that extraordinary. Buildings get vandalized all the time, especially churches and other houses of worship. I simply thought, like I always do when this kind of thing happens, that it was unfortunate that a house of worship was vandalized, and I suppose my optimism of human nature hoped that it was a bunch of kids just fooling around and being stupid, rather than being religiously motivated.
And I almost clicked off the page to look at another page, when something caught my eye. I noticed that there were already about 30 comments that had been made by readers regarding the article, so I decided to see what people were saying. And this brings me to the crux of my article. I fully expected, albeit naively I suppose, to find comments of people denouncing the vandals and the general vandalism of any house of worship. What I found instead was a vast majority of people spewing hate and bigotry and unbelievably actually applauding the vandals for their destruction of an Islamic house of worship!
I can honestly say that my jaw literally dropped as I read comment after comment, each one more hateful than the next. And to top it off, the moderator of the comments had already removed several comments that were apparently too inappropriate to even be published! To give you a feel for the overall theme, here are just a few of the comments made by readers:
"My congratulations to the people of Iowa who stood up for real Americans and American values. Since Al-Maobama won't do it, it's up to individual citizens to let terrorists know we won't tolerate their kind among us. A blow for liberty and freedom!"
"Too bad it wasn't burned to the ground."
"HEY Americans have been pushed to the limits..MOSQUES have taken over, and we are FED UP WITH IT! GO BACK TO THE DESERT AND Build your MOSQUES leave our cities and towns alone!!! Ive always thought that there will come a time when AMERICANS say enough is enough..I guess it s starting now!!"
And just think - these were the comments that were allowed to stay! It amazes me that after all of these years it surprises me that I am actually still surprised by comments like this. As always when situations like this arise, I try to consider how Jesus might react. If Jesus lived next door, or just down the street from this mosque, how might he respond to and interact with the Muslims whose house of worship had been vandalized? These verses come to mind:
"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 7:12)
"Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves." (Romans 12:10)
"Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (Ephesians 4: 31-32)
"Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing." (1 Peter 3:8-9)
It's with great sadness that I say that I am appalled and ashamed to be associated with people who would make such ugly and un-Christ-like comments about an entire group of people. Just because we may have differing (even widely differing) beliefs, it doesn't mean that anyone should be treated with any less dignity and respect than someone who believes the exact same as we do. Because like it or not (and independent of whether they believe in Him or not), they too have been made in the image of Christ.