Several days ago, the Muslim Association of Puget Sound, a mosque/community center in Redmond, suffered an act of vandalism. The granite sign in front of their building was damaged. Earlier this year, a bomb threat was called into MAPS. As a result of these events, MAPS has instituted round-the-clock armed security at their building.
Today, MAPS hosted an open house, and my husband and I attended. They are located in a converted manufacturing building in an industrial part of the city. We heard someone speak about the various activities at the site, including a volunteer clinic for people without health insurance and regular community volunteer programs. There is a daycare and a private school on site, and of course, prayer services. MAPS has been at this site since 2011, and in Redmond since 2009. They’ve been a part of the community just like any church in the area.
The turnout for the open house, organized and publicized on short notice, was pretty good; I’d guess there were over 100 people there when we arrived during the second hour. It was a little hard to tell, because by the end, people were also starting to arrive for the prayer service which would begin soon after the open house. We were told we were welcome to observe the prayer service if we wanted.
While we were visiting, we ran into a colleague of my husband’s who had finished his prayers. Thanks to Microsoft, Redmond is a diverse community, and this kind of hate crime is not typical. It is never acceptable, and I was glad to hear from our tour guide that there has been an outpouring of support from the community. When we drove up, we saw a bunch of people waving signs at the corner, and wondered in dismay if there were protesters. No, these were people holding up signs urging peace and support for our Muslim neighbors.
Donald Trump ran a demagogic campaign that relied on scapegoating the other, and now he is the President-elect. The scapegoating won’t end just because the election is over; whenever something goes wrong, he will have to blame someone else. We must stand up against Trump’s bullying, and those who follow his lead in attacking other Americans. When the President-elect and the people he surrounds himself with talk about banning Muslim immigration and registering Muslim citizens, it is not only immoral and unconstitutional, it encourages the bullies to attack. Standing by and doing nothing is not an option.