FORT PIERCE, Fla. -- Dozens of members of the Fort Pierce Community held a solidarity vigil outside the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce Thursday night.
Nearly 4 days after an arsonist set fire to the mosque, the community wanted to help members of the mosque feel secure in their religious home.
It was also a way to drown out a lot of hate that is still being cast toward the mosque.
Members say they’re still dealing with people driving by yelling hateful words or profanity.
On social media, they see people commenting about their support for the person who set the mosque on fire.
People at the vigil wanted members to know there are many more people supporting them than trying to push them out.
Elisabeth Simmons held a sign that read ‘Peace on Earth’.
Meanwhile, members of the mosque prayed in one of the few rooms not damaged by the fire.
“They can come here, enjoy their prayer and their beliefs without hatred and violence. They don’t deserve this. Nobody deserves this.”
Bruno Moore organized the vigil. “You can’t hold an entire group of people accountable for what one or two people do,” Moore said.
A member of the mosque, who didn’t give her name, spoke out with her frustration about how the Muslim community has been treated.
“It’s very painful for us Muslims to hear lies after lies after lies. These lies cause these things to happen.”
“We’re all Americans. We’re all here, we’re on one planet, We’re all on this rock together,” said Rabbi Shafir Lobb.
Members of the mosque say there have been plenty of kind gestures directed their way, including offers to help rebuild, or something as simple as leaving flowers.
That’s what they’re choosing to focus on.
“We have seen many people coming here, giving us flowers, proposing ways to help fix this place…what happened here, it never made me feel like we belong to this community more than anything.”
— Meghan McRoberts (@MeghanWPTV) September 15, 2016