"That kid is hope." - Mosque member


After the tragic terrorist attacks that happened in Paris, France, the world has been filled with fear and cruel words and actions. Fear has turned into hate, finger-pointing, name-calling and cruel actions for some. But even in these moments, some people's actions can remind you to have faith in humanity.

On Monday morning, worshippers at the Islamic Center of Pflugerville going to their neighborhood mosque for Monday prayer, found the mosque had been vandalized. Human feces had been smeared on the front of the building, and pages of the Quran were ripped and strewn about the fecal matter.

Members of the mosque were stunned by the actions, thinking that something like this wouldn't happen in Pflugerville. Speaking to KXAN of Austin, ICP board member Faisal Naeem talked about how he felt:

“This is very unexpected and quite honestly quite shocking. We’ve always thought of Austin being an oasis.”

During the news interview though, Naeem saw the true nature and heart of Austin and a young boy. Seven-year-old Jack Swanson and his mother, Laura, stopped by the mosque to help clean up the mess. When they arrived, the damage had already been cleaned, but Jack wanted to also make a donation to the mosque.

Jack took all the money he had saved in his piggy bank — $20 — and gave it to Naeem. Jack's mother wanted to show her son compassion for others by bringing him to the mosque to make the donation.

"We were talking in the car how someone smeared poop on their church and that was a really, really awful thing to do and we had a good conversation what churches are for and how everybody’s churches are important. I think it’s really good to get kids involved and to let them know what the important stuff really is."

Faisal Naeem was touched by the gesture.

“It’s 20 bucks, but coming from Jack collecting his pennies it’s worth 20 million bucks to me and to our community. This gives me hope because this means it’s not one versus the other.”

Austin Police are still investigating the vandalism and are calling it a hate crime. Naeem says he harbors no ill will towards the vandal, and would simply like to talk to them.

"He or she, who ever did this — or they — doesn’t represent anybody but themselves. If I find the guy or girl who did this I would welcome them with open arms, to have a conversation with them. If this person wants to come and talk to us about why he did it and how we are not connected to what is happening in Paris or the Middle East."

Seems like Naeem and little Jack are similar in their views of compassion for others. Not to mention Jack's mother who is raising quite the outstanding little kid.