*An imam in Canada has raised money for a local church after it was vandalised by a man “upset with the Christian religion”.
Hamid Slimi, imam of the Sayeda Khadija Centre in Mississauga, urged his congregation to donate to the nearby St Catherine of Siena Roman Catholic Church, which suffered thousands of pounds of damage last month.*
*A man was caught on CCTV ripping pages from Bibles, damaging the alter and removing a cross and placing it on the ground. A few days later, a statue of Jesus was vandalised and graffiti sprayed at the school attached to the church. “When I saw this, I thought it was pure injustice. It was just wrong,” Slimi told The Star. Speaking to Christian Today, he said he called the church immediately and went to see the damage for himself, asking Father Camillo Lando of St Catherine’s if there was anything the local Muslim community could do to help. Slimi then mentioned the situation during a Friday service at his mosque, and took a collection. $5,000 was raised instantly.
*Slimi said that raising the money “is what any Muslim would do”. Father Lando is “a very, very gracious man,” he added. “They [the church] are very nice people, and they appreciated it.”
A 22-year-old man, Iqbal Hessan, has been charged with breaking and entering and committing the crime. According to The Star, Hessan told the court that he was “upset with the Christian religion” and his father said that he’d been diagnosed with schizophrenia, which he believes to be the cause of his son’s actions.
Police will not be charging Hessan with a hate crime “because there was no evidence of mal-intent,” a spokeswoman confirmed.
Father Lando said his church’s was praying for Hessan, and wanted to “forgive and forget”. He told The Star that he was grateful for Slimi’s donation, which he called a “beautiful and generous gesture”.
This is another story of good overcoming evil. Evil can take hold in both Christians and Muslims but time and again we hear stories of inspiration which shatters the view that Islam and or Christianity is a threat to the world. I feel that far too many Christians are recklessly using the term radical Islam or Jihadists to describe evil people, and this is bullying because of course us Christians can not stand the term radical Christianity. I also feel that far too many Muslims refer to Christians as kafirs that can not be trusted. But these days it truly seems more and more Muslims and Christians are coming together.
Let us all pray, both Muslim and Christian, that we can follow in the ways of noble Muslims and Christians of the past who donated money to charity, who fed the poor. After all there wasn’t a disclaimer made on skin color or religion of your neighbor when Jesus Christ taught to love your neighbor.
Catholics especially ought to think long and hard about what words they use when talking about our neighbors. I am upset by my fellow Catholics whom have studied Islam but continue to use the term Jihadists or Islamists to describe groups like Al Qaeda or ISIL, please I ask kindly to stop doing this as it hurts the feelings of peaceful Muslims. Anyone with minor knowledge of Islam, will know and understand that Muslims themselves are offended by the term Radical Islam. To each their own but I say that folks ought to think of Radical Islam and or Radical Christianity as terms which are offensive to good and peaceful people.
Muslims do not refer to themselves as Islamists, a non Muslim invented the term Islamist and today to many Christians are proscribing the term Islamist to Muslims.
Im all about defeating criminals and terrorists of all colors and religions. But I’m also all about respecting people of different colors and belief systems. I find it very much productive to label groups like the KKK, Al Qaeda, the drug cartels, as criminals or terrorists. I’m not going to give the KKK credit by associating the term Christianity with the clan nor will I give groups like AL Qaeda credit by associating the term Islam with AQ.