Although fire ravaged the Islamic Center of Eastside, it did not destroy the Muslim community’s reverence for their faith.
After the mosque burnt down from suspected arson on Jan. 14, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints offered the use of an old classroom to the Islamic Center of Eastside to pray in. The religious communities are directly adjacent to one another in Bellevue, Washington.
The displaced Muslim community initially prayed at a local community center, but required a more permanent space while their mosque is being rebuilt. The Church provided the classroom free of charge for the time being.
“It was a surprise, and it was very heartwarming,” said Shams Pirbhai, an Islamic Center board member. “That means a lot to me and to our whole congregation.”
The Church gathered signatures and messages of hope on two large boards and left them as a welcome for its Muslim neighbors, according to KOMO News.
“It’s really very simple,” said Church Director of Public Affairs, Gordon Wilson. “It’s just neighbors — helping neighbors. Jesus said, ‘Love your neighbor.’ They’re right next door. How can it be more obvious than that?”
Except for Sunday, The ICOE members meet at the Latter-day Saint church building five times a day to pray.
“We are extremely, extremely humbled by the show of support and acceptance,” said mosque board member Tanvir Rahman.
Immediately after the fire, the Islamic Center received calls of assistance from surrounding pastors, rabbis and priests. Outside the mosque, non-Muslims left balloons, flowers and cookies as gifts, according to the Huffington Post.
An online fundraiser to rebuild the mosque has already raised over $370,000 from over 4,000 sponsors.