Should I be scared, (part 2)

On Saturday, the 5th of December, the Unitarian Church in Quincy hosted  an event for the public, titled Islam. We were three speakers. I was given the topic about how media misrepresents the true religion. Before the meeting started, I thought I would go over to our Islamic Center and get a few pamphlets and take them with me to the church in case any body was interested in reading about the real religion. I am always trying to educate the public! 😉

As I drove up, I noticed that our sign to the center was missing. It was put in by the city when we had bought that building; and while the metal post was standing, the sign itself was gone. That scared me, and I drove into the parking lot, hoping that I would find the sign somewhere. But I didn’t find it. After getting the pamphlets from inside the mosque I returned to the Unitarian church. There was a lot of TV coverage, along with reporters from the local news paper, and while talking to them I said that our sign from the mosque was stolen. That became the headline news that evening. Meanwhile I called the Quincy Police Department and told them that while there was no vandalism as such, our sign was removed (stolen). An officer came home and took the report.

I should let my readers know that the FBI has been extremely helpful to us with regards to the building of the mosque, and sometimes they ask if they  can come and sit at our gathering on Fridays, and have always told us that if ever there was any vandalism, I should let them know. Therefore, I sent an email to our local agent a few days later about the missing sign. That same week, a couple of days after I had sent him the mail, I received an email from the agent, —“the QPD has informed me that they have found the person(s) who have stolen the sign. You will be contacted within 24 hours.”

My jaw dropped. Honestly, I never thought that we would get the sign back at all. Meanwhile I had an interview on the CBS affiliate radio station about Islam and terrorism and what was real and what was media related fear and hatred. I had been so busy with all these various programs  that I did not mention about the mail from FBI to anyone, not even my husband. The following day after that interview, I received a call from a detective from the police department. He said that he had found the culprits. They were five students, seniors and a junior from the local Catholic High school. They had confessed to the vandalism. Their parents were told about the misdemeanor, and had to come to the station. The officer told me that the parents were extremely angry with the boys, and told them that they had to pay for the new sign which I had already installed, and do other chores for the mosque. I told the officer that I didn’t want anything like that. I just wanted peace in this community, and didn’t want the young men to have their names in the police report or in the newspaper for something like that. I didn’t want them ostracized by their friends or neighbors.

The following day, the athletic director of the school called me. He told me that he had suspended the students from taking part in the sports. He said that the boys and the parents wanted to meet with me to apologize personally. I didn’t want them to do that. I asked that they can just write a letter and I would read it to the congregation on Friday. He insisted that I come to the school and meet with them.

So, this past Friday, I went there with my son and met with those students and their parents. The parents were in tears at what the sons had done, and the boys were so ashamed that they couldn’t meet my eyes. While I had options, I knew how much the parents were hurting, and how sorry the ‘stupid’ kids were feeling for doing what they did. The principal of the school was there and asked that I say something. This is what I told them.

‘I am not here to advise you. I don’t do advise. I just want you to know that we are a very small Muslim community in one of the finest towns in America. I want to live with peace in my heart, and I hope you all can find peace in yours. I applaud your parents for being here. Ten years from now, you may be teachers, or police officers, or doctors and work alongside Muslims. You have to be righteous. The best person is one who is righteous, and the one who is most righteous, is the one who is most honorable. Period. That’s all I want to say to you. Make your parents proud of you, and let them smile.”

It was an emotional setting, to say the least. The parents were hugging me and the mothers and fathers were sobbing. I needed to get out of that place before I broke down and bawled along with them. So I said my good bye and as I was leaving, a father held my hand and said, “this was such a lesson in kindness.”

That touched my heart strings. And now you know the rest of the story!



About Zakiah

I write poetry and some fiction, have a book that was published in 2012. . . Stray Thoughts/Winged Words. I have four grandchildren, ages 16 and half to almost 16 months. I love the ocean, and grew up along the Indian Ocean in South India. I am a retired physician. Don't know much else to say. Thanks for reading. That has been my profile for so many years. My daughter Saadia a great poet and story teller, has two sons; the oldest grandson is now 21 years old, doing architectural engineering at Missouri S&T in Rolla MO. His younger brother is almost 16 and taking driving lessons seriously and is in High School. The other two grandsons, children of my son Sayeed, are 9 and 5. I have recently published another book titled Gulistan, A home of Flowers. It has stories and memories of my childhood and of a distant land which I still consider as my HOME., even though I have lived here in the US for more than fifty years. Hope to see you on my blog.
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27 Responses to Should I be scared, (part 2)

  1. Wow! They felt such guilt! They really needed to hear your kind words! How wise you are to know just what to say! 🙂

  2. slmret says:

    It brings tears to my eyes just to read this story — you had so many options, and yet you were so kind to those 5 kids. I hope that the suspension from sports and the meeting with you will impress on them the wrong that they did, and teach them a lesson they will remember for the rest of their lives. Kids that age don’t like to apologize, and I’m sure that was a good lesson for them as well! At the same time, I’m glad you took your son along to that meeting — exposure to good people from different backgrounds is sometimes the best education that you can provide to teenagers. The meeting itself has to have been scary for you — and it sounds as if you handled it as well as anybody could! Love and hugs!

    • Zakiah says:

      Such wise words from you Janet. Thank you. I am not sure if I was scared so much, as was nervously excited. I had never been in a situation like this before. yes, I am very happy that I took Sayeed with me. I hope seeing him there made a difference to those boys. I feel that the parents will watch over the kids with greater concern than before. At least I hope so. True, I had options, but in my heart, I couldn’t bring myself to give a punishment of any sort to those young men. I really didn’t want their friends and their neighbours or the other teachers to point their fingers at them. They made a mistake, a stupid mistake, and I think they learned their lesson. I do not hold any grudge against them. Again, Janet, thank you for such wonderful words full of love.

  3. ruthdetwiler says:

    This is wonderful and I wish the rest of the world would behave like this and see that we are all just people. There are good and bad in all races, spiritual groups, all groups of humanity. It is not just one.
    There is more good in this world than bad but the media hypes the bad and makes us look at each other in fear and mistrust.
    I am grateful to hear of the reaction of the authorities, school, parents and students.
    Sending warmth.

    • Zakiah says:

      Hi Ruthie, thank you for your sweet and loving words. All of us have to find it in our hearts to be kind to each other, me thinks. We are all from the same genetic pool of mankind, but some of us go away on a different course. I try, to be on a straight path. I cannot say that it is easy, but, I try. I always try.

    • Zakiah says:

      Ruth, I am not allowed to check your blog. I don’t know how to see your posts. Please advise.

    • Zakiah says:

      Hi Ruth, I read somewhere that your husband was in the hospital. I have tried to get to your site, and when I typed your id in the ‘search’ box, nothing came up. I hope everything is fine and you both are home and he is doing well. Thinking of you.

  4. I have tears in my eyes…joy-tears!
    See! You ARE changing the world by your words, actions, and example!
    Thank you, SweetZ., for modeling kindness to those boys and their parents! They saw your heart…they will never forget it! They have learned a lesson and they have seen forgiveness in action…hopefully they will never forget these either!
    HUGS!!! 🙂

  5. You made a good job , zakiah . BVery good .
    Love ❤

    • Zakiah says:

      Dear Michel,
      Thank you. I hope you are doing well, and that you have had a wonderful Christmas. I wish you a healthy and happy New Year.
      love <3, and best regards,

  6. Oh, my friend, your response was so compassionate, loving and right. I admire you and am so thankful for and proud of you . I am glad the boys and parents realized how wrong they were..The meeting was good for them. Love and hugs, to you and yours.

    • Zakiah says:

      Thank you Elizabeth. Your words touched my heart. Yes, I think the meeting was good for them. I hope they had a wonderful day today. I hope you and your family had a wonderful day of togetherness and blessings. Love and hugs.

  7. I hope years from now, they will look back and realize how powerful that moment was. I really hope they will learn from this. Kids at that age can be very stubborn and their minds aren’t that open yet. *hugs*

    • Zakiah says:

      I hope so too Matt. And I told them something to that effect. “Ten or fifteen years from now, you may be teachers, or lawyers of police officers, and may have to work along side Muslims— just remember that all Muslims are not bad just like all Christians are not bad and all Jews are not bad. I hope at that time you will remember this day!” I am hoping that their minds were open that day Matt.

  8. This brought tears to my eyes. You were very kind and I’m sure the parents and the kids won’t ever forget that.

  9. rememberingthatgirl says:

    How sad that the world has come to be the place of fear and violence it has.
    You are brave and my hopes are that these folks will learn that people are people and we all matter and are important, and we all have much to give to each others in this world of humans.
    Such a world is a place I would have never dreamed would exist in my life time and that I prayed never would.
    I was raised back in the hills of Arkansaw where folks had to depend on their neighbors and all we one was we all helped each other survive the poverty and respect and caring was offered freely with no rules for what color, or what race or religion folks were.

    • Zakiah says:

      Hi Annie, thank you for your heartfelt comment. I appreciate the fact that you have started following my blogs. I hope I won’t disappoint you. You and I at our age, have to set a good example, no? Love and hugs to you.

  10. Thanks Zakiah for your Christmas wishes . Yes we got a joyous Christlmas . We were 24 around the table and guess who was the oldest at that table ? 🙂
    LOve ❤

  11. rudolfhsw says:

    there is nothing like repaying in kindness. you showed them how to be forgiving, to be dignified, to be kind, to be human. i am sure it is an encounter that they shall never forget. i’m not sure they would receive similar kindness if you were someone else. you certainly are a woman of example. and i am proud to be able to say that i know you.

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