From the rubble of a firebombed mosque, relationships have emerged.
After local men burned the Islamic Center of Columbia, Tenn., to the ground in February, Muslim families had no place to worship. Donations came in to help establish a new center, and the First Presbyterian Church in town allowed them to worship at its church.
“It’s just a great example of how we can believe different things and respect, celebrate each other,” said Daoud Abudiab, president of the Islamic Center of Columbia. “And that’s regardless of those who carry out acts of hate toward other groups.”
Two of the three men charged with destroying and vandalizing the mosque pleaded guilty on Monday in federal court in Nashville, as the Islamic Center works to open its doors at 500 Carter St. in Columbia.
Michael Corey Golden, 23, and Jonathan Edward Stone, 19, admitted to breaking into the Islamic Center of Columbia, 1317 S. Main St., assembling Molotov cocktails and igniting them, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
The two men also admitted to burning the mosque because of its religious character, the Department of Justice stated. Spray-painted on the walls outside the mosque were several Nazi swastikas and the phrases “white power” and “We run the world.” (Full story)