Some came out of curiosity, some simply to enjoy a good barbecued burger.
But most of the hundreds of people at yesterday’s third annual Idriss
Mosque community appreciation day came to celebrate their common humanity
with a community sometimes caught in the middle by the war on terrorism.

Two days after the 9/11 attacks, two members of the mosque near Northgate
saw a man pouring gasoline on a car parked outside the mosque. When they
followed him, he fired at them with a handgun, jumped in a car and fled.

No one was hit by the gunfire, but the man crashed into a telephone pole
and was arrested on federal charges.

That hate crime caused the community to coalesce around the mosque, said
Aziz Junejo, a Muslim community spokesman.

“For three months after 9/11, (members of) the church council stayed here
day and night, 24 hours a day, to protect the mosque,” Junejo said. “And
the mosque was bombarded with people coming to bring flowers.”

Yesterday, the mosque was bombarded by friendship in an event meant to
promote just that.

One man walked up to mosque director Hisham Farajallah, stuck out his hand
and said with a smile: “Hi. I’m Bill, just a neighbor. Any chance we could
look inside?”

And there were others such as Mary Margaret Pruitt, who, when offered a
hamburger, declined, saying, “I came for fellowship”¦


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