The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Sterling is deeply saddened by. The vandalism, which included the destruction of all of the first level windows and glass doors, will cost the community $60,000 in repairs. Tallying the damage begins with recognition of the monetary loss, but does not stop there. The Mosque is a community within a community, a neighbor to neighbors. The desecration of the building is an overt act of bigotry, an act that threatens to rend the delicate ties that hold a community of diverse people in balance.
We extend our sympathy and concern to the Ahmadiyya community and hope they will have the means to rebuild, as we hope the community of Chantilly and its surrounding environs will have the means to rebuild a sense of balance and collaboration. We are confident that even the most violent acts of bigotry can be overcome with equally powerful acts of love, love that honors our nation’s tradition of religious freedom and welcome to people of all races and creeds.
We agree with Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) who characterized the violence as “an affront to the American traditions which we hold dear.” Many years earlier Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. reminded us from the Birmingham Jail that the greatest threat to American democracy is not the absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will, but the shallow understanding from people of good will. We refuse to understand or accept this violence in a shallow manner. We see it as an affront to the universal human values that we hold dear, and will recommit ourselves to the work of building relationships across our divisions, with people of different faiths and traditions.
We appreciate the devotion of our local government officials and interfaith organizations to support all people of good intention in our community. We pray for the officers handling the investigation, hoping that they will swiftly and courageously bring this case to a just close, sending a message to the whole of our community that our commitment is one to justice and religious freedom.
The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Sterling
Signed by the Board of Trustees and Minister, Rev. Anya Sammler-Michael