For the first few days after the July 2 report of vandalism to their place of worship, the 150 families of the Islamic Center of Michigan City felt alone, some even a little frightened.
“I’m not glad someone would come around and just shoot when it’s not their property. How would they feel if somebody came around and just shot at their church?” said Nouah Hakim, 10, daughter of center president Abraham Hakim.
But that was before the news spread.
On Sunday, representatives of dozens of area congregations, church, social and civic groups stood shoulder to shoulder with Muslims to show solidarity and support against what J. Allen Johnson, executive director of the Northwest Indiana Council on Race Relations, called “hatred and ignorance.”
More than 80 people saw the “KKK” scratched on the sign on Brown Road as they entered the parking lot and squinted at the pair of two-inch bullet holes in the copper dome as they entered the building that has been home to the area’s Islamic community for 35 years. The center is located in Pines in Porter County.
Nouah and her two siblings sat quietly as their father opened what was billed as an ecumenical gathering, co-sponsored by the center and the council, with “Peace be with you” in Arabic and English.
Hakim said the FBI has nothing new to report in its investigation, but observed the holes from BBs or pellets in the north and west sides of the building, “one in each pane of glass,” make it clear that the almost $9,000 in damage was not just “kids shooting,” but a hate crime.