Just down our street, there is a sign on an unassuming brick building:

“Love for all, Hatred for none”

It’s pretty rare that I see people there.  Occasionally there will be cars parked in the small lot on a Friday night or Saturday during the day.  On even rarer occasions they have cars parked in their overflow lot across the street. Kids play outside and their laughter is contagious. Daffodils bring color to the building in the spring, and someone is hired to mow the lawn, but that isn’t much of an ask, as the rest of their non-daffodil landscaping is minimal.

From what I can tell, it’s the only mosque in our town. They are nearly impossible to track down – no website, no social media, no fliers around town welcoming people with promises of friendship, child care and donuts.

They are directly across the church from a medium size, mainstream church. This building, which is nearly exactly the same color of dark orange brick, has a parking lot is flooded with cars daily. No matter the day or the weather, something always seems to be going on there.  i

This small Islamic group, however is much more reserved.

I don’t think much about them most days. We get their mail occasionally, and when I walk there to give them the letters, they are very kind and soft spoken. As I’m not super up on the culture, I always try to be respectful and just approach the women, who are GORGEOUS with their flowing clothes and dark hair.

But there has been a change the past few weeks.

Now, anytime they meet, anytime there is a car in the driveway, a security guard is positioned outside.  This weekend they had some sort of event, and there were 2 security guards keeping guard the entire weekend.  On the sidewalk where I sometimes walk the dogs, there was a folding chair, a coffee mug and can of Mountain Dew placed under the seat.  Sometimes a guard rested his legs by watching the world from the chair, but mostly I think they walked back and forth, watching our sleepy neighborhood.

And despite 60 degree weather, I sadly didn’t hear the sound of kids playing during any part of the weekend.

It breaks my heart that they feel the need to have security. There are churches all around our area, and people happily come in and out, feeling safe in their own space. I hope that, perhaps, our churches may see this disparity and step in to help lower their fears. That we can literally love our neighbors as ourselves.

I hope and pray this was just them being overly cautious and not due to feeling threatened by come part of the community.

Love for All. Hatred for None. Shouldn’t that be the vision for all of us?