The alleged hate crime stirred up emotions in many people, and on Sunday, they came out to put the hate behind them and begin healing.
Channel Four’s Catharyn Campbell reported the Muslim community lost their place of worship, but they said their faith is stronger than ever.
The charred pile of wood that’s left of the mosque served as the backdrop of Sunday’s gathering.
“The hate crime that happened last Saturday was a hate crime against the entire community,” Tenn. Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition spokeswoman Catalina Nieto said.
The group said it received an outpouring of support from people all over Tennessee.
People of all ages and from different background and religions gathered to show their support.
“We need to speak up today and acknowledge our own grief, shame and outrage as a community to say this can not happen and won’t be tolerated,” said First Presbyterian Church member Bill Williamson.
Last week, smoke and flames consumed the building, and swastikas and words of hate were painted on the building.
Three men were arrested in connection with the crime, police said.
“The swastikas on the walls made me feel alienated and, for a moment, scared for my family and other members of our small community here in Columbia,” Islamic Center of Columbia President Dauod Abudiab said.
While the act was intended the break spirits, it has actually brought a community together.
“Learning to co-exist together is something that God has given us and taught us to do, and we will,” Abudiab said.
He said he’s received more than 1,000 calls from people all over the country.
Members of other faiths have also stepped in to help the group.
The church said it is having its weekly services every Friday at the First Presbyterian Church in Columbia.
The group said it is planning to rebuild.
For anyone who would like to help, a special account has been set up at the Community First Bank and Trust in Columbia.