By Rick Sallinger
DENVER (CBS4) – Hundreds of people gathered outside the Colorado Muslim Society mosque Thursday evening to support the Islamic community.
In the past, terrorism in the name of the Muslim religion has led to acts of discrimination and threats of violence. On this day those from different religions joined together in support of those who practice Islam in peace.
Reverend Amanda Henderson of the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado spoke to the crowd about the people who worship at this mosque and others.
“They feel scared going to the grocery store, they feel scared leaving their homes,” she said.
Barriers were broken at the event in the name of humanity. Some wore skull caps.
“I’m Jewish, my name is Rabbi Goodman,” one of those present told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger.
Katie Bartell flew in from Aspen.
“My faith is peace and equality for all mankind,” she stated.
Retired United Methodist Pastor Keith Thompson said, “I’m here because of the threat of violence and just disrespect.”
It is feared there could be a backlash to San Bernardino, added to Paris, and other locations of violence.
Hands reached out, for understanding.
Iman Jodeh, the executive director of Meet the Middle East, helped organize the event.
“We are no longer ‘the other’ but rather your neighbor,” Jodeh told those standing side by side.
They signed cards to Gov. John Hickenlooper thanking him for not trying to block Syrian refugees. They also wrote kind words to other mosques. They then placed
prayer ribbons on a fence — symbols of comfort rather than hearing words of hate.
Radiya Nuri has not been subject to such language herself, but her friends have.
“Like’terrorist,’ ‘camel-heads’ those kind of names,” Nuri said.
Moustafa Hokoumi, who was born in Morocco, asked people to not judge the people by the acts of others.
“I would not call them Muslim terrorists, but terrorists because they know nothing about Islam,” he said.
As Muslims worshipped inside, those of many faiths lit candles outside embracing the mosque with understanding.
If it seemed a somewhat familiar scene, there was good reason. After the 9/11 attacks in 2001 there was a similar show of support after the mosque shut down due to threats. Then, 300 people were expected, but 3,000 showed up.