The Islamic Center of Pflugerville, a mosque in a strip mall in the suburbs of Austin, Texas, was vandalized on Monday. On the way to morning prayers, community members of the mosque found feces smeared on the sidewalk and torn pages of the Quran, the Islamic holy book, scattered outside the center.
“It’s disgusting; it’s gross,” said Laura Swanson, who lives in Pflugerville. “It doesn’t matter what you believe, what I believe, what he believes or anybody believes, all faith is important.”
When her 7-year-old-son, Jack, heard about what happened to the local mosque, he wanted to help in any way he could.
He emptied out his piggy bank, scraping together $20, and went to the mosque in person to give his donation to Faisal Naeem, a board member of the Islamic Center.
“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,” Swanson said.
She wants this incident to be a teaching moment for Jack.
“I think it’s really good to get kids involved and to let them know what the important stuff really is.”
Naeem said Jack’s donation meant a lot to him personally.
“It’s 20 bucks, but coming from Jack collecting his pennies, it’s worth 20 million bucks to me and to our community,” Naeem said.
He has a son the same age as Jack.
“This gives me hope, because this means it’s not one versus the other,” Naeem said.
Local officials said they are investigating the vandalism as a hate crime.