This is Rhode Island.
In response to a hate filled letter calling for the genocide of Muslims mailed to Masjid al Kareem Mosque in South Providence, dozens of people representing a multitude of faith and non-faith traditions showed up during afternoon prayers in a show of solidarity and support. In a strong rebuke of the racist and divisive language that characterized the recent election, there were warm greetings and hugs exchanged.
As men and women left the mosque after afternoon prayers, calls of “As-salāmu alaykum!” and “We love you you and want you here!” filled the air, along with sustained applause. Imam Faissal Elansari had announced to his congregants to expect the large crowd outside, so there would be no misinterpretation of the supporter’s intent. The bemused and joyful looks on congregant’s faces were infectious. The event was largely organic, an idea that took root and grew of its own accord, no one group took credit for it happening.
When communities are attacked in Rhode Island, we come together in the best tradition of freedom of conscience and religion, concepts that are central to Rhode Island’s identity. The letter, copies of which were sent to mosques all over the country, found no fertile ground here.
Feel proud, Rhode Island.