MERIDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A mark on a ceiling tile shows where a bullet struck after being shot through the wall at Baitul Aman Mosque. Members of the mosque were able to reach out to the shooter and change a mind. They’re hoping to continue that educational campaign especially in light of the more recent violence.
“It’s like a memorial to how some things are a blessing in disguise,” says Zahir Amman, the director of outreach and education at the Meriden mosque. It is known as the House of Peace and members have made peace with the man who shot at the mosque.
“The Quran also says that good and evil are not alike,” says Amman. “Repel evil with what is good and your enemy will become your friend.”
As part of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community they are hoping their message of ‘Love for all, hatred for none’ will also help stop terror acts like the shooting at the mosque in Quebec City which killed six and wounded many others.
“There’s a rise in hate crimes and we want to be able to counter that in a productive way,” says Amman.
Since the shooting at this Connecticut mosque they have increased their outreach and community education. Sometimes standing on the street with signs inviting conversation. It’s their ‘Meet a Muslim. Ask Anything’ campaign.
“Six out of ten Americans don’t know a Muslim,” says Amman.
They have also increased security. They have 24/7 video surveillance and members armed with two way radios stand watch inside and out during prayer service.
“It serves a dual purpose for security and to invite anyone to come in who wants to come in cause we don’t want to lock our doors,” says Amman.
Every Friday night at 8:00 o’clock people are invited to come into the Main Street mosque for coffee, cake, and conversation on True Islam.