A seven-year-old boy donated all the money he had – $20 – to a mosque that had been vandalized in Texas in the wake of the Paris attacks. The young donor and his family, who are not Muslim, recognized the intolerable hate-crime incident and were moved to action. Jack Swanson broke open his piggy bank, full of pennies, and turned the funds into a $20 bill, which he handed over to one of the mosque’s board members.
Writes USA Today on Nov. 19: “The Islamic Center of Pflugerville was vandalized by someone who tore up a Quran and covered it in feces. Police are investigating the incident as a hate crime, possibly spurred by the recent terror attacks in Paris.”
Board member Faisal Naeem, commenting to ABC News, said: “Jack’s $20 is worth $20 million to us because it’s the thought that counts. Jack is just a little older than my son, Ibrahim. If we have more kind-hearted kids like them in the world, I have hope for our future.”
Several mosques throughout the United States and Canada have been targeted by vandals after the recent violence in France, perpetrated by Islamic State militants. In Nebraska, an Eiffel Tower was painted on the Omaha Islamic Center, while in Houston and Florida, threatening phone calls made to area mosques have been turned over to the FBI for investigation. Mosques in Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, Ohio and New York have all reported similar hate-crime incidents.
Anti-Muslim sentiment appears to be growing; this despite Muslims around the world condemning the Paris attacks.
“The picture is getting increasingly bleak,” commented Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Washington, D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations. “There’s been an accumulation of anti-Islamic rhetoric in our lives and that I think has trigged these overt acts of violence and vandalism.”
Naeem though says these small acts of kindness need to be nurtured. “This gives me hope because this means that it’s not one versus the other because two years, 10 years, 50 years – I’ll be gone. But my kids and Jack, both Americans, born here are going to grow up together.”
Jack’s mom, Laura Swanson said they were happy to donate the little they could.
“We got together our pennies and it came out to $20 bucks so we did what we could,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what you believe or I believe or he believes or anybody believes. All faith is important. And especially peaceful faith I mean what happened in Paris is not what’s happening in Pflugerville. We should all be here supporting each other.”