BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – A crowd of up to 1,000 people stood in athletic fields behind the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington Tuesday evening to show solidarity for the mosque targeted in an attack over the weekend.
On a stage, imams, priests, rabbis and pastors stood shoulder to shoulder to denounce Saturday’s bombing of the mosque’s main office, while in an expansive crowd, people of all faiths joined to show love is a force far greater than hate.
“An attack on a mosque is an attack on a synagogue, an attack on a church, an attack on all communities of faith,” said the Rev. Curtiss DeYoung, head of the Minnesota Council of Churches.
U.S. Senator Al Franken spoke, as did U.S. Rep. Tim Walz and other elected officials, including former Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak.
“It is an all too common reminder of an ugly thread that weaves through our history, the thread of intolerance, prejudice and violence. This isn’t new,” said Senator Franken.
U.S. Rep Tim Walz had a special message for the children of the mosque.
“You are cherished,” he said. “You are loved. You are Minnesota,” said Walz.
The leaders of Dar Al Farooq repeatedly thanked the crowd and handed out sambusas to the hundreds of neighbors as one token of thanks. The mosque leaders also said they are handwriting letters to every person that has reached out, telling the crowd, they no longer live in fear.
“The attacker wanted to divide us but he failed,” said Mohamed Omar, executive director of Dar Al Farooq. “Thousands of you have written letters, sent cookies and provided donations, thank you for your generous support.”