Young Baha’i Scouts help erase the hate of mosque desecration

April 24, 2018
Young Baha’i Scouts help erase the hate of mosque desecration

Children join forces with larger movement in Tennessee to join hands and rally support

By Joyce Jackson

After vandals desecrated a mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, hundreds of Baha’is and other residents demonstrated support for the Islamic congregation.

Young Baha’is involved in Boy and Girl Scouts were prominently among them.

Signs promoting love and unity are held by young Baha’is in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, in response to an act of hate targeting a mosque. Photo courtesy of Joyce Jackson

The Murfreesboro Islamic Center was dedicated at Ramadan 2012 after years of bureaucratic delays.

In July 2017, vandals spray painted graffiti on the walls and basketball court. They went as far as to hang strips of bacon on door handles in a gesture aimed at preventing Muslims from entering.

After word of the desecration got out, hundreds of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County citizens rallied support for the mosque.

Dawn Rhodes, a Baha’i in Murfreesboro and a local Girl Scout leader, says she took her children and other members to the rally because one of the strongest Girl Scout troops in the city is sponsored by the Islamic Center.

Rhodes told local news reporters, “Whenever a Girl Scout is in distress, our sisters band together and we want to be here for each other.”

Also at the rally were Jennifer Block, a Baha’i in nearby Smyrna, her children and other members of their Cub Scout pack.

In addition to carrying signs that promoted love and unity, the Cubs stayed after the rally and as the sun was setting began scrubbing graffiti off the walls.

“I am so proud of my children at how hard they worked to erase this hatred,” says Block. “They showed great reverence and kindness.

“The love that they have for others, no matter their background, is apparent,” she says. “They stayed after to clean the graffiti off of the building and basketball court, and were so happy to be doing a good deed for the community.”

Block adds, “My 7-year-old was scrubbing his heart out to remove the profanity off of this building because he was so hurt that someone would write that.”

Another local Baha’i, who goes by the name Linell, was interviewed by local media. She is a member of the Rutherford County Interfaith Council and carried a sign with the Golden Rule as revealed in the various religions.

The involvement of Baha’is also caught the attention of bloggers. One wrote in part:

“It is a story about a boy scout troop who got together with some members of the Baha’i faith last night and started scrubbing some walls. …

“It’s a story of hundreds of people — people of differing faiths standing alongside people of no faith at all — gathering together around a goodness that transcends the borders of nations, as well as the borders of theology.”

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