A group of New Jersey citizens have volunteered to remove hate graffiti sprayed on the Islamic society in Princeton city, showing solidarity with the Muslim community against hate.
“This is bigotry and hate right here on a wall,” Michael Parks, who was seen cleaning the walls of the Islamic Society of the Appalachian Region’s mosque last Tuesday, told Princeton Times on Friday, March 14.
“I’m just amazed by the fact that someone took time out of their day to express hate,” he added.
The ISAR Islamic Center was vandalized once in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
At the time, the community stepped up and assisted in the clean-up process of the center.
When a similar situation occurred on December 16, 2013, no similar move was taken from the community.
Yet, the effort was suggested after Perks, along with Derek Zeigler and Barbie Dobbins, read an article on Aljazeera America describing how Muslims felt that the community has turned its back to them.
“In 2001, there was a huge outpouring of support from the community, and everyone came together to help us restore our mosque. We haven’t seen that this time around,” the unnamed ISAR Executive Committee member was quoted as saying in the story.
At this point, the trio decided to stand up to provide help to the Muslim community by cleaning the graffiti.
“Somebody’s taken something and carved into the texture of the wall,” Parks said, tracing the damage with a finger.
Dobbins expressed hope that a store specializing in paint sales might accept her challenge to donate paint to cover the outside of the building and restore it to its pre-vandalism condition.
“This is just so juvenile,” she said.
Zeigler too expressed disappointment with the hateful graffiti.
“It’s amateur,” Zeigler added.
“If you want to make a point, write a letter or set up a meeting with people. You don’t have to paint it on a wall.”
Though Dr. Abdul Piracha, a senior member of the local Islamic community, was out of town at the time the trio of volunteers started their project, he called for the who community to stand up and face hate crimes.
“This (crime) really hurts all of us because all of us feel that we are part of the American dream,” he told Bluefield Daily Telegraph.
“We have to stand up to this kind of thing.”
The United States is home to a Muslim minority of between six to eight million.