How did an Arkansas Muslim community respond after 20-year old Abraham Davis vandalized their mosque? They forgave him.— Muhammad Lila (@MuhammadLila) December 29, 2017
Then they paid his legal bills.https://t.co/5oxbULS5hM pic.twitter.com/s2RpFTkhnK
A man in Arkansas vandalized a mosque in October 2016 and over a year after the incident took place, the mosque paid off his fines.
Abraham Davis spray painted hateful messages, such as “f*** you, f*** Islam” and “Go home” on Fort Smith’s Masjid Al Salam with two of his friends. He was caught after police reviewed footage from security cameras of the mosque.
Authorities of the mosque forgave Davis after the incident but despite their efforts, he was charged with felony. The charge consisted of community service and a hefty fine of $3,200.
Davis religiously showed up for his community service at a Goodwill store but paying the remaining fine was something that worried him every day because he didn’t have a job. If he failed to make the payment, he could end up in jail for six years.
“We knew this person did a bad thing and there has to be consequences for their actions. But we didn't have any ill feelings towards anybody,” said President of Al Salam Louay Nassri.
So, the community decided to pay off his fine.
Part of the fine was paid by a woman whose son had made the same mistake. However, the remaining amount of $1,731 was still pending and had to be paid by Davis.
The mosque came to his rescue and Nassri wrote a check to pay off Davis’ remaining part of the fine.
“We heard that he was having financial problems. Now if you don't pay your fine, that's an automatic six years in jail. Well, we didn't want him to go to jail for six years. After all that he had been through, we didn't want him sitting on the severe financial stress. And like I told him, we want him to have a much better future,” said Nassri.
He also said, “If he would've known who we are, he wouldn't have done this. If we would've known his troubles with us, we would've tried to help him. Communication is extremely important. Education is extremely important.”
Understandably, Davis was shocked and speechless at the mosque’s action.
“There’s no words. English. Find it. It’s a great weight being lifted off of my shoulders. And I don’t deserve it, but this act of kindness, it’s just, wow,” he told The New York Times.
Davis added, “It’s crazy because I was thinking of a lot of things and going back to school was one of them. It’s like a whole new window just opened up. It’s like somebody who has been locked in a padded room and has never felt the wind before. I’m just in awe of this moment right now.”
This gives me hope. Thank you for making me aware of this.— William Glidden (@William32407940) January 2, 2018
Excellent!— Naz Lallmohamed (@naz_lallmohamed) January 2, 2018
Truly am amazing story of forgiveness. As a corollary, I would love to hear Abraham Davis’ story of redemption, the flip side of this beautiful act. What does he intend to do to pay this second chance forward to make his community a better, more tolerant place?— Michelle Hylton (@chelliehylton) January 1, 2018
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