Love is stronger than hate — that was the message hundreds of people gathered to proclaim in a Phoenix, Ariz. mosque last week. The event was co-sponsored by The Arizona Interfaith Movement (AZIFM), a United Religions Initiative Cooperation Circle.
“We are here to build bridges of understanding, support and love for all people,” said Dr. Paul Eppinger, Executive Director of AZIFM.
The event drew hundreds of people, with reports of attendees ranging from 200 to 1,000, who gathered to show their solidarity after an anti-Muslim protest was held outside the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix three days before.
While that event had been planned as an anit-Muslim rally, it actually drew just as many Muslim supporters as protesters. Continuing to show that love is stronger than hate, the The Islamic Speakers Bureau of Arizona convened a gathering the on Monday, June 1.
“Show that when one of us is mistreated, our community responds with a message of Love and Not Hate,” the bureau posted on Facecbook. “We ask that you bring a FLOWER as a symbol of love and care. We are better together, and together we are strong.”
The interfaith gathering drew national attention, including coverage from Huffington Post, NBC News and USA Today. Locally, one news station highlighted the story of one protester, Jason Leger who had a change of heart after being invited into the center by community members.
“When I took a second to actually sit down and listen to them, and actually enter their mosque, and go in and watch some of their prayers, it is a beautiful thing, and they answered some of the questions that I had,” Jason Leger told Fox10 News. Click here to see the rest of the story.