On October, 2016, Masjid Al Salam in Fort Smith, Arkansas (USA) was vandalized by Abraham Davis. The front of the mosque was covered with the words “Go Home”, along with a swastika etched in spray paint. However, after one year, Abraham found help from the very people he hurt.
“It shouldn’t be hanging over him for the rest of his life,” President of Al Salam Louay Nassri said. “We knew this person did a bad thing and there has to be consequences for their actions, but we didn’t have any ill feelings towards anybody.”
Davis was charged with community service, along with massive fines, something he was not able to do on his own. This is where the mosque stepped in.
“We heard that he was having financial problems,” Nassri said.
“Now if you don’t pay your fine, that’s an automatic six years in jail. Well, we didn’t want him to go to jail for six years.”
Just before the new year arrived, President of Al Salam, Louay Nassri, decided to write a cheque for $1,700 to help pay for the rest of Davis’ fines. The money was originally allocated for renovations to the mosque.
“After all that he had been through, we didn’t want him sitting on the severe financial stress,” Nassri said. “And like I told him, we want him to have a much better future.”
“We thought this was the right thing to do. We thought if someone does something bad and came and apologized, you just forgive them. That should be the natural thing. We had no idea that this forgiveness would be an international story.”
Nassri says “Al Salam” means “peace” and he continues to uphold that meaning.
“If he would’ve known who we are, he wouldn’t of done this,” Nassri said. “If we would’ve known his troubles with us, we would’ve tried to help him. Communication is extremely important. Education is extremely important.”