I returned last week from my Hajj trip full of vigor, a renewed spirit and a resolution to come to my beloved hometown to continue much-needed community and interfaith work that has become a cornerstone of our little town. I was also looking forward to seeing the final finishing touches on the new Islamic Center, including the dome and minaret.
I was disheartened, however, to learn that right on Christmas weekend, after the dome was erected, the small crescent figure that topped the minaret was taken (I prefer not to refer to it as theft). It was puzzling to me why anyone would go to great pains to climb up there and take such an ornament.
As the disappearance of the crescent news spread, a most generous offer was made by not one, but a handful of local clergy and people of faith. The support from the local community was overwhelming and heart-warming, as they all offered to chip in and help purchase a new crescent for the Islamic Center.
It is in times of need that you truly know who your friends are. Our neighbors and brothers in humanity have jumped to the aid a house of a different faith, because that's what a community does.
For that, I would like to sincerely thank the person who took the crescent, as he has given us something so much greater ... a sense of community. We sincerely hope that person accepts the crescent from the whole community as a small token of appreciation.
[Hamza El-Nakhal is a board member for the Sacramento chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.]