GOOD

A Mosque That Was Burnt Down Responds to Hate With Love

The son of the imam turns the other cheek in response to hateful social media comments.

Just two days after the fatal shooting at Chapel Hill, which killed three Muslim students, the Quba Islamic Institute in Houston was set on a fire, reportedly on purpose.


This incident further stokes the flames of a heightened sense of Islamophobia in both the U.S. and the world, following the terrorist attack on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on January 7th and the escalation in size of anti-Islam demonstrations in Germany.

The Quba Islamic Institute serves as a mosque and educational center, according to the organization’s website. Prior to the fire, the mosque reports that it had received no threats; however, the presence of gasoline in the remains of the starting location of the fire led community leaders and the Houston Fire Department to believe that the fire was an act of arson, according to The Independent.

Darryl Ferguson, the homeless man earlier this week who was charged with the arson, told Al Jazeera America "it was an accident."

In a video posted on Quba’s Facebook page Wednesday, Ahsan Zahid, son of the imam, said they accept Ferguson's statement and had "hoped from the beginning that it was not a hate crime."

“We feel that this world has enough hate, and we have to have love and harmony and solidarity,” Zahid said.

Zahid continued this positivity and turned the other cheek in the face of hateful comments posted to the group’s Facebook page. In one such instance, a truck driver named Joshua Gray called Muslims "scum,” and in another post he wrote that he hoped a mosque "burns for every American killed by these terrorists."

Zahid responded to Gray’s comments by inviting him to Quba. Gray, who was driving through Houston at the time, accepted and spent five hours at the mosque, speaking with members and watching them pray.

"It just changed my opinion on a lot of the things I’ve seen and heard by just going in and actually talking to him [Zahid] face to face," Gray told Al Jazeera, also saying that prior to his visit to Quba he had never met a Muslim before.

After the experience, Gray posted a public apology on Quba’s Facebook page, writing,“Anger gets the better of us sometimes by things happening around the world, and in our own country, so we tend to lash out the only way we are able, which are the ones like you, who don’t like it anymore than we do. Thanks for inviting me.”

Here are some of Zahid’s responses to other nasty and intolerant comments:

Articles
via Douglas Muth / Flickr

Sin City is doing something good for its less fortunate citizens as well as those who've broken the law this month. The city of Las Vegas, Nevada will drop any parking ticket fines for those who make a donation to a local food bank.

A parking ticket can cost up to $100 in Las Vegas but the whole thing can be forgiven by bringing in non-perishable food items of equal or greater value to the Parking Services Offices at 500 S. Main Street through December 16.

The program is designed to help the less fortunate during the holidays.

Keep Reading Show less
Communities

For more than 20 years. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has served the citizens of Maine in the U.S. Senate. For most of that time, she has enjoyed a hard-fought reputation as a moderate Republican who methodically builds bridges and consensus in an era of political polarization. To millions of political observers, she exemplified the best of post-partisan leadership, finding a "third way" through the static of ideological tribalism.

However, all of that has changed since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Voters in Maine, particularly those who lean left, have run out of patience with Collins and her seeming refusal to stand up to Trump. That frustration peaked with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
via Truthout.org / Flickr and Dimitri Rodriguez / Flickr

Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign looks to be getting a huge big shot in the arm after it's faced some difficulties over the past few weeks.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leading voice in the Democratic parties progressive, Democratic Socialist wing, is expected to endorse Sanders' campaign at the "Bernie's Back" rally in Queens, New York this Saturday.

Fellow member of "the Squad," Ilhan Omar, endorsed him on Wednesday.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
Photo by HAL9001 on Unsplash

The U.K. is trying to reach its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, but aviation may become the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.K. by that same year. A new study commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) and conducted at the Imperial College London says that in order for the U.K. to reach its target, aviation can only see a 25% increase, and they've got a very specific recommendation on how to fix it: Curb frequent flyer programs.

Currently, air travel accounts for 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, however that number is projected to increase for several reasons. There's a growing demand for air travel, yet it's harder to decarbonize aviation. Electric cars are becoming more common. Electric planes, not so much. If things keep on going the way they are, flights in the U.K. should increase by 50%.

Nearly every airline in the world has a frequent flyer program. The programs offer perks, including free flights, if customers get a certain amount of points. According to the study, 70% of all flights from the U.K. are taken by 15% of the population, with many people taking additional (and arguably unnecessary) flights to "maintain their privileged traveler status."

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet