"Today at the Mosque..."
(Author Unknown)

10-2-01 SOW Seeds Service of the Church Within - Story #156
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Welcome
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Greetings my Dearest Sisters and Brothers, and welcome again to Church Within's Story of the Week ["SOW Seeds].

Today's Story came untitled from an unknown author. I took the liberty of giving it a name so that it would be recognizable in the future in our Story Archive's New format. I hope no one minds. We now have 155 different Stories with a Spiritual message located in our “S.O.W. Seeds” Archives, all easily accessible with a click on the title. Enjoy, and Share them Freely!

This week's SOW Seeds Story, contributed by: Sybil Morgan

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Story of the Week
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“Today at the Mosque…”
(Author Unknown)

        Like any other place, America has its share of bigots and ignorant people. For the past few days in the Seattle area, there have been threats and in some cases, acts of violence perpetrated against Muslims, and toward people of Middle-Eastern descent (or those wrongly perceived to be). Some people have been phoning in threats to local mosques, and even beating people. Today at the mosque in my neighborhood, a man has been arrested for attempting arson and shooting the windows out of a car in the mosque's parking lot.

        But these terrible acts do not tell the whole story. I want to share with you all what I have personally witnessed tonight. As I write this, the mosque in my neighborhood is surrounded by non-Muslims who have come out in a public show of support for their Muslim neighbors who have been experiencing harassment and fear since the terrible events on September 11.

        Earlier today, my partner and I laid flowers and a message of encouragement on the steps of the mosque. It was heartwarming on this day of mourning to see that many other people had also left flowers and cards. Later in the evening, as millions of people throughout the US and the world lit candles, we participated in a candlelight vigil at the mosque, which spontaneously sprang up, and eventually drew a crowd of at least a hundred people. There are now so many flowers at the front door of this mosque, that it rivals a huge florist shop! You can barely walk into it without stepping on bouquets. And the steps leading up to the door of the mosque are lined with candles lighting up the night sky. It is an unbelievable scene.

        As I stood there tonight, candle wax dripping all over my hands and shoes, I witnessed so many miracles… people meeting their Muslim neighbors for the first time, most of whom had never set foot in a mosque before. Many people were initially a little nervous to talk to people who seemed different from them. But the outpouring of good will melted away any divisions. There were people from all walks of life… Christians, Muslims, Jews, and people who do not profess to believe anything (yet something propelled them to be there!). There were two young Mormon missionaries who seemed petrified at first, like they had walked into the scene unintentionally, but who soon held candles in the air like the rest of us. Older people who could have been protesters in the Sixties standing shoulder to shoulder with young Muslim men from Pakistan. Gay people holding candles with an elderly woman wearing a huge cross around her neck. Many people holding signs of support, proudly waving to the hundreds of people in cars!

        Words cannot begin to describe the feeling there tonight. So much amazing love between strangers. Words cannot describe the look of gratitude and awe, especially in the Muslim women's eyes… women who had earlier decided not to leave their homes because of the fear their traditional Islamic dress would make them targets. Now they were calling each other at home saying, "Hey Sister, you've got to come down here to see this… this is unbelievable!"

        This was an unplanned, spontaneous act of support and solidarity. I heard from one woman who prays there that the non-Muslim neighbors have started a volunteer list to watch over the mosque throughout the night so that there will be no more acts of violence toward this house of worship, or its members.

        I had been feeling so devastated these past few days, though thankfully, to my knowledge I do not personally know anyone who has died or is missing in New York or Washington, DC. Like everyone, I have been struggling for answers why the terrible events on Tuesday occurred. My rational mind can find so many reasons, but my heart cannot begin to understand. Though I will never be able to fathom how human beings can do such horrific things to other humans, I do know that the thousands of deaths that occurred on Tuesday have brought about a consequence the perpetrators of violence never intended… people are talking to each other, and people are taking care of each other. Once you truly look into the eyes and heart of a stranger, they will never be a stranger to you again. You cannot go backward into a state of uncaring, bigotry, or ignorance. At the same time, I am not naive. I know that people will eventually slip back into their comfortable distances. But seeds have been planted, and beautiful flowers.

Here's to Peace Parties! May we all receive an invitation to attend. And may God protect and bless us All.
[Seattle, USA]

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The Prayer
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Dear God,        
        May All of Your children who know Your Love, know of and share in Your Love for ALL of Your Children.

You ALL are Within the Infinitely Loving Embrace of our Universal Parent,

The Creator's Eternal Love to all of You,
Pastor Daniel

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