I have been trying to call attention to this issue. Muslims we have to realize what is really going on here and what our apathy to the situation could also result in. Unless we stand together to denounce these very public attacks against our shared faith, we open ourselves up to attacks individually. Sunni, Shia, Sufi, Ahmadi, etc. whatever your sect, theology, or ideas. As all who profess ourselves to be Muslim, we have to unite against injustice. Make no mistake, while we may know the differences amongst us and our differences very real, those in who’s heart is the desire to attack Islam and Muslims do not care. The events taking place could easily happen at our local Masjid. Those who promote and carry out these attacks whether verbal or physical could careless if we fold our arms or not in prayer, our country of origin, or our beliefs and the nuances in our interpretations. They only see Mosque and Muslim and attack. Either we stand together or perish seperately, the choice is ours.
On Friday, September 26, the end of a week in which thousands of copies of Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West — the fear-mongering, anti-Muslim documentary being distributed by the millions in swing states via DVDs inserted in major newspapers and through the U.S. mail — were distributed by mail in Ohio, a “chemical irritant” was sprayed through a window of the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton, where 300 people were gathered for a Ramadan prayer service. The room that the chemical was sprayed into was the room where babies and children were being kept while their mothers were engaged in prayers. This, apparently, is what the scare tactic political campaigning of John McCain’s supporters has led to — Americans perpetrating a terrorist attack against innocent children on American soil.
I read the story as reported by the Dayton Daily News, but this was after I had received an email written by a friend of some of the victims of these American terrorists. The matter of fact news report in the Dayton paper didn’t come close to conveying the horrific impact of this unthinkable act like the email I had just read, so I asked the email’s author for permission to share what they had written. The author was with one of the families from the mosque — a mother and two of the small children who were in the room that was gassed — the day after the attack occurred.
“She told me that the gas was sprayed into the room where the babies and children were being kept while their mothers prayed together their Ramadan prayers. Panicked mothers ran for their babies, crying for their children so they could flee from the gas that was burning their eyes and throats and lungs. She grabbed her youngest in her arms and grabbed the hand of her other daughter, moving with the others to exit the building and the irritating substance there.
“The paramedic said the young one was in shock, and gave her oxygen to help her breathe. The child couldn’t stop sobbing.
“This didn’t happen in some far away place — but right here in Dayton, and to my friends. Many of the Iraqi refugees were praying together at the Mosque Friday evening. People that I know and love.
“I am hurt and angry. I tell her this is NOT America. She tells me this is not Heaven or Hell — there are good and bad people everywhere.
“She tells me that her daughters slept with her last night, the little one in her arms and sobbing throughout the night. She tells me she is afraid, and will never return to the mosque, and I wonder what kind of country is this where people have to fear attending their place of worship?
“The children come into the room, and tell me they want to leave America and return to Syria, where they had fled to from Iraq. They say they like me, … , and other American friends — but they are too afraid and want to leave. Should a 6 and 7 year old even have to contemplate the safety of their living situation?
“Did the anti-Muslim video circulating in the area have something to do with this incident, or is that just a bizarre coincidence? Who attacks women and children?
“What am I supposed to say to them? My words can’t keep them safe from what is nothing less than terrorism, American style. Isn’t losing loved ones, their homes, jobs, possessions and homeland enough? Is there no place where they can be safe?
“She didn’t want me to leave her tonight, but it was after midnight, and I needed to get home and write this to my friends. Tell me — — what am I supposed to say to them?”
DAYTON — The Muslim community gathered Sunday, Sept. 28, 48 hours after an unknown irritant disrupted worship at the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton.
“We were in the midst of the Fifth Prayer when people started coughing,” said Ismail Gula, the society’s secretary.
Gula said the building was evacuated and the service to break the daily fast of Ramadan continued at a nearby facility.
He said he had no idea what might have caused the incident. “It might be anything,” he said.
Gula said he had received many calls of support from Christians and Jews over the weekend.
When Dayton fire and emergency personnel arrived at 26 Josie St. on Friday night, they noticed an odor. HAZMAT workers checked the structure for pepper spray and other irritants, but found nothing.
Police said they were continuing their investigation.
Also on Sunday, members of several Dayton religious groups were scheduled to view and discuss a DVD about Islamic radicalism mailed to some area homes and circulated with newspapers here and around the country.
“Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West,” was a paid advertising insert in the Dayton Daily News, Springfield News-Sun, Hamilton JournalNews and Middletown Journal, all owned by Cox Ohio Publishing, on Monday, Sept. 22. It appeared in more than 70 other newspapers nationwide.
DAYTON — Baboucarr Njie was preparing for his prayer session Friday night, Sept. 26, when he heard children in the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton coughing. Soon, Njie himself was overcome with fits of coughing and, like the rest of those in the building, headed for the doors.
“I would stay outside for a minute, then go back in, there were a lot of kids,” Njie said. “My throat is still itchy, I need to get some milk.”
Njie was one of several affected when a suspected chemical irritant was sprayed into the mosque at 26 Josie St., bringing Dayton police, fire and hazardous material personnel to the building at 9:48 p.m.
Someone “sprayed an irritant into the mosque,” Dayton fire District Chief Vince Wiley said, noting that fire investigators believe it was a hand-held spray can.
According to fire dispatch communications, a child reported seeing two men with a white can spraying something into a window. That child was brought to the supervising firefighter at the scene.