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'We are your neighbors': Islamic Society opens doors to community after cemetery was vandalized

Members of the Islamic Society of Fargo and Moorhead say they wanted to take the opportunity to educate people about misperceptions they may have about Islam.

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Hundreds attended the Islamic Society of Fargo and Moorhead's open house.
Mike McGurran
We are part of The Trust Project.

A recent vandalism incident at the Islamic Society of Fargo-Moorhead Cemetery left Muslims living in Fargo-Moorhead unsure if the incident was random, or a targeted attack against them.

The vandalism at the cemetery happened just over two weeks ago.

Someone broke into an abandoned building the Islamic society of Fargo and Moorhead used to store concrete vaults for Muslim burials. The damage was discovered by a gravedigger working at the cemetery on Saturday, October 22.

Five vaults were badly damaged, shattered to pieces. The vaults cost $1000 each.

Today, they opened the Mosque to members of the community, to raise awareness of the incident and to help educate the public about Islam.

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"We're just here to clear up any misconceptions that there are about our faith and our community members who are associated with the religion of Islam," said Mary Habib, a volunteer at the event.

Hundreds of people, both Muslim and non-Muslim alike flocked to the mosque.

They enjoyed food and fellowship together. There were educational pamphlets free to everybody that went over common misconceptions people might have about Muslims.

"We're all very diverse within our community," Jessica Nix pointed out. "You know, we have Muslims from a lot of different countries. And even though we're one religion, we're diverse."

They also had a demonstration where people could ask to have their names spelled in Arabic.

Even though the thousands of Muslims living in Fargo-Moorhead are still reeling after the ugly incident, they're using it as a chance to educate others. And they're making it crystal clear. They say this is their home too, and they're not going anywhere.

"I just want to say that we all you know, we're all your neighbors, and we're all just one big community looking to live peacefully amongst each other," said Mary Habib.

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