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waleedfamilywinter

As he and his family prepared for a holiday road trip, Grey County's Waleed Aslam shared his response to the sentencing of the man who vandalized our local Mosque.  Safe travels Waleed!

"Phenomenal article by my friend Scott Dunn in the Owen Sound Sun Times. The article talks about the trial and sentencing of the individual that vandalized the Owen Sound Mosque earlier this year. I have refrained from commenting on this matter while it was in court, but I feel now is a good time to reflect on this troubling and equally touching incident. I have seen many posts on social media that have chosen to focus on the incident. I, however, would like to focus on the outcome.

After the vandalism the entire community rallied around us and opened their arms to us. I cannot even begin to mention all the cards, phone calls, emails and visits that we received - let alone that 70 people showed up to guard us while we prayed the next day. We received visits and messages of support from all our elected officials, including our amazing mayor Ian C. Boddy, our MPP Bill Walker and our newly elected MP Alex Ruff. Our tiny community even got the attention of elected officials and activists such as Ontario Liberal Party Leadership Candidates Steven Del Duca and Michael Coteau. Throughout the process the Owen Sound Police Service worked with us hand in hand and Chief Ambrose took it upon himself to provide us with constant updates.

There were concerns over the community being discouraged to come to the mosque. Let me tell you that in the past few months, I have seen the community grow by dozens and the number of attendees at the mosque have almost doubled.

During our evening prayers today, it was humbling to see some of the commentary in regards to the sentencing. Many referred to Brandon Hodder as “a brother” while others wanted to reach out to him and offer their support.

From the day of the incident, my objective has been to highlight the outpouring of love and support that we have received from the wider community. Having travelled to every corner of this majestic country, I can proudly say that Owen Sound and Grey County stand as shining beacons of acceptance and diversity.

As we look forward to the years to come, I feel there is a massive opportunity that lies here. This is our moment to attract and retain migrants and businesses to this area, be it businesses from the City or newcomers coming out of war zones. I feel that we have proven as a community that this is indeed the best place to raise a family, start a business and coexist peacefully.

I have personally forgiven Mr Hodder, unconditionally and whole heartedly.

I would like to end with a beautiful quote on forgiveness from the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), “ Be merciful to others and you will receive mercy. Forgive others and the Almighty will forgive you”

Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year in advance to everyone reading.

- A humbled Canadian (Waleed Aslam)

Shared with the author's kind permission.


 

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