Vandalism unable to deter group’s faith in community
(DNJ) –Scott Broden
MURFREESBORO — Islamic Center of Murfreesboro volunteers who pick up trash on Bradyville Pike encountered something they can’t clean — black spray paint on their adopt a highway sign.
The culprit covered up the word Islamic on the ICM sign near mile marker 26 on a portion of state Route 99 southeast of Murfreesboro.
“It’s unfortunate that some people have this view toward Islam,” said Imam Ossama Bahloul, the religious leader for the Muslim congregation.
The act of vandalism is the latest in a string of vandalism directed at the congregation and its plans to build a new mosque on Veals Road, which is off Bradyville Pike. In January 2010, a vandal spray painted “Not Welcome” on the congregation’s sign announcing its future site. Another sign on the site was later broken in half and someone torched construction equipment on the site last summer.
The center obtained a building permit Friday to get started onconstruction of its new mosque, beginning with 12,300 square feet.
To make a difference in the community, the ICM entered into a contract with the Tennessee Department of Transportation to volunteer four times this year to clean up two miles of Bradyville Pike between mile markers 24 and 26, said ICM member Ihsan Ansari.
He led a group of seven members in early April in cleaning trash from the road and its ditches even before the state, at no cost to the Muslim congregation, erected a pair of signs acknowledging that the ICM adopted this portion of the highway.
Another volunteer crew will go out sometime during the first two weeks in June, Ansari said.
“Community service is something I love doing,” said Ansari, noting that helping the community is a way to purify one’s soul. “Many of our Muslims always give back. Muslims are part of the community and only want to enhance and better the community instead of defacing and tearing it down.”
Only one other sign of spray paint appeared between mile markers 24 and 26 along Bradyville Pike, and it was in blue swirls on a tan wall of what appeared to be an old, abandoned Dilton Store at the intersection of Dilton-Mankin Road.
Original post: Vandalism unable to deter group’s faith in community