When a mosque in the town of Victoria, Texas, a community 30 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico within two hour’s drive of Houston, Corpus Christi, San Antonio, and Austin, burned to the ground in a mysterious fire the reaction on social media was fast and furious. Of course, some Trump supporters must have fire bombed the place. After all, this is Texas, a place only inhabited by bigoted red necks. However, the reaction of the community did not quite align with the stereotypes that the social justice warriors have of the Lone Star State.
As the ABC TV affiliate in Houston reports, the #people of Victoria have rallied around that town’s Muslim community. A GoFundMe page has been set up for the rebuilding of the mosque and has already raised over $1 million. A local Jewish synagogue has offered itself to become a place for the #Muslims to worship while the mosque is being rebuilt. (This brings to mind an adage, if there can be peace and understanding between Jews and Muslims in Texas, why not the Middle East?) A number of Christian churches have also offered themselves to become places of worship during the rebuilding period.
So far the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms have not discovered the cause of the fire, so by no means certain is it the result of a hate crime, as is being assumed by people who like to vent on social media.
A salient fact about Texas that many people who have never been to the state and therefore make uninformed assumptions about it is that not only is it more ethnically diverse that many people would believe, but its culture encourages a sense of neighborliness. After all, how is could there be Muslims and Jews living peacefully side by side in a small Texas town if these facts were not true?
Iman Osama Hassan, whose mosque it was that burned to ashes, was most effusive in his appreciation of how his neighbors have reached out to help. "Our heart is filled with rejoice, thankful to everyone who supports us. It makes the injury heal very fast. The way people support us and pray for us -- standing here, giving us hugs, love -- it makes it much easier on our heart."
It is a lesson that the world might benefit to learn from. #victoria texas