Too often in recent years, we’ve read or heard of tragic tales involving attacks against Muslim citizens in America. Yet one recent act of violence in Troy, Maine, is being countered with an outpouring of support from the community.
Five Pillars Butchery, owned and operated by Hussam Al Rawi and Kathryn Piper, provides halal meat products for Muslims in the area. Halal is a set of rules by which Muslims live, which includes how food is to be prepared. The couple opened the butchery because there weren’t many halal options in the area.
One hour after putting up a new sign for their business, however, Five Pillars was targeted by a yet-unknown shooter, who put eight bullet holes in the sign. No one was physically harmed by the incident, although Piper did indicate it left the family frightened.
“I want to stress that it wasn’t just an attack on our business sign. It was an attack on our home,” she said.
Al Rawi and Piper have two children, ages 1 and 3.
Police are still investigating the incident, but while waiting for justice against the attack, Al Rawi and Piper have seen an amazing outpouring of support from the community — including a sizable donation from a fellow business in the area.
The donor, who wished to remain anonymous, said he wanted to let the family know that Troy was a welcoming community.
“I wanted them to know that there are people around here who care that they’re here,” he said.
“He said such beautiful, supporting words. It feels very comforting,” Al Rawi said.
Others throughout the community have expressed their support for the family, in person and on social media.
“I really want people to know how grateful we are of the outreach, and we truly appreciate everyone’s words of comfort,” Piper said.
Muslim citizens in the United States — whether born here, as Piper was, or immigrants who’ve attained citizenship, like Al Rawi — face huge obstacles in American society related to bigotry, some of it systemic. Yet for this family in Maine, the outpouring of support from their community has demonstrated that tolerance and understanding are still traits that Americans stand behind.