Justice

Texas Boy Donates Piggy Bank Money To Vandalized Mosque

Following the series of deadly attacks in Paris, vandals damaged a mosque in Pflugerville, Texas, smearing the Islamic Center with feces and pages ripped out of the Quran. This was devastating to Muslims in Pflugerville, but a little boy's response to the vandalism provided a sense of hope for the community.

Earlier this week, 7-year-old Jack Swanson approached mosque board member, Faisal Naeem outside the Islamic Center to donate all of his piggy bank money to the mosque. Jack contributed $20—his entire life savings—after his mother, Laura Swanson told him what happened to the mosque.

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Swanson told local station KXAN about how Jack found out what happened.

“We were talking in the car how someone smeared poop on their church and that was a really, really awful thing to do and we had a good conversation what churches are for and how everybody’s churches are important. It’s disgusting, it’s gross. It doesn’t matter what you believe, what I believe, what he believes or anybody believes, all faith is important."

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Though Naeem understandably remains shaken up by the incident, he told BuzzFeed News that Jack is the embodiment of "hope" and that the community plans on getting him a present for the holidays.

“It’s 20 bucks, but coming from Jack collecting his pennies it’s worth 20 million bucks to me and to our community,” Naeem told KXAN, adding that he has a son around Jack's age. “This gives me hope because this means it’s not one versus the other.”

This unfortunate incident comes at a difficult time for Muslims all over the world. Since last week's Paris attacks carried out by the Islamic State (IS), there has been a rise in Islamophobia both in politics and in the media, with many blaming Islam at large for the tragedy. However, IS is an extremist group that does not represent Islam. And although many people, including President Barack Obama, are trying to educate people about Islam instead of spreading fear, Islamophobia is more common than we might think.

In response to this, many Muslims are sharing the hashtag #NotInMyName to communicate this and condemn IS publicly.

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Active Change Foundation launched the #NotInMyName Twitter campaign in 2014, and many are tweeting the hashtag again in the wake of the Paris attacks.

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