Hundreds rally to show support for Mosque after arson fire - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Hundreds rally to show support for Mosque after arson fire

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Hundreds of people rallied to show their support at Islamic Center in Perrysburg after the mosque was damaged in arson fire that authorities are calling a hate crime.

With a number of local dignitaries in attendance, area spiritual leaders condemned the attack that took place inside the mosque last weekend.

Rev. Ed Heilman of the Park Church, United Church of Christ said, "We'll help you rebuild, we will help you anyway we can, we will raise this mosque and clean it together, we will be your partners in this."

Many here wanted to send a message of peace, harmony and interfaith understanding.
Last Sunday authorities say 52-year-old Randy Linn of Saint Joe, Indiana broke into the Islamic center. Police say he roamed the empty halls with an armed revolver and set the prayer room carpet on fire. Linn is now facing multiple charges some of which include arson and federal hate crime charges.    

The mosque's interior will take months to repair.  And for members like Linda Mansour attending this service, the community outpouring of support truly moved them.

"Today, we're rejoicing in the tragedy that happened and it just fills my heart. It's reassuring to know in Toledo we really are a community."

Nihad Awad, the co-founder of CAIR, The Council on American Islamic Relations, traveled from Washington D.C.  He says hate crimes against US Muslims has jumped by 50% in recent months. The one in Perrysburg being the very latest.

"Anyone who attacks this attacks the entire United States Constitution and values and I'm very humbled to see this show of solidarity of the American Muslim Community."

The center suffered extensive smoke and water damage and has been closed all week. The president here hopes to resume prayer services and Sunday school in the next week once a spot on the first floor has been cleared.

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