Eastern Iowa groups sending support to Minnesota mosque after bombing

Inter-Religious Council, Cornell College group sending postcards to Dar Al Farooq Islamic Center

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CEDAR RAPIDS — The Inter-Religious Council of Linn County and Cornell College’s Office of Chaplain & Spiritual Life are sending support to a mosque outside Minneapolis that was bombed last weekend.

About 5 a.m. Saturday, a bomb was thrown through the window of the imam’s office at the Dar Al Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minn. Worshippers were gathered in the mosque for morning prayers at the time of the explosion, though no one was injured, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. The Minneapolis FBI office is investigating the incident.

Charles Crawley, president of the Inter-Religious Council, said members voted this week to send $100 to the Dar Al Farooq Islamic Center.

Crawley said the council hopes the money will fund repairs to the mosque, as well as reassure the congregation that there are other religious groups supporting them.

“I hope it will make them feel better to know that there are people in the United States who don’t feel the way the bombers do,” Crawley said. “It’s a very serious and dangerous thing that happened. It reminded me in the 1960s when there was a baptist church that was bombed and four little girls were killed. People would have been horrified had that happened in this case. It’s just too close for comfort.”

Crawley said the Inter-Religious Council also is hosting a “Postcards for Peace” day on Tuesday. Those who wish to send a message to members of the Minnesota mosque can go to Via Sofia’s restaurant, 1125 First Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids, to write a postcard. The postcards will show Muslims at the Dar Al Farooq mosque that violent acts toward those of a particular faith won’t be tolerated, Crawley said.

“We’re hoping that people will get a batch of these cards and that it will improve their spirit,” Crawley said.

Catherine Quehl-Engel, a pastor at Cornell College’s Office of Chaplain & Spiritual Life, said Cornell College also is hosting a space for Cornell faculty and students to write “messages of solidarity and love” on Tuesday. The event, in the Cole Library, is open to Mount Vernon residents.

Crawley said though the Inter-Religious Council would like to prevent crimes against religious groups from happening, members know groups across the country still are targeted.

“We know when they do happen, our purpose is to respond to that and do what we can to help,” Crawley said.

l Comments: (319) 368-8516; makayla.tendall@thegazette.com

If you go

What: Postcards for Peace

When: 7 to 9 a.m., 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Via Sofia’s, 1125 First Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids

What: Messages of Solidary and Love event

When: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Cole Library on campus of Cornell College in Mount Vernon.

Postcards and postage will be available at each location.

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