People of all faiths turned out Wednesday night to once again show their support for members of a New Haven mosque that was set on fire two weeks ago.
The celebration was called an “evening of unity.” Leaders of the Diyanet Mosque said they’ve seen an outpouring of support that was on display again Wednesday for an Iftar dinner.
“We're going to stand against hate and we're going to stand for good will,” said Omer Bajwa, director of Muslim Life at Yale University.
In the St. Thomas More Catholic Chapel and Center at Yale, Muslims, Jews, other Christians and others broke the daily fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. It was all to support members of the mosque.
“This is a community which is resilient, this is a community that is united. This is a community where solidarity and caring for our neighbors means something,” said Abdul-Rehman Malika of Yale University.
Leaders said they want everyone to take away something special from the prayers and breaking of bread.
“We come together in moments of prayer, of celebration, but also in times of sadness of crisis,” said Father Ryan Lerner, chaplain at St. Thomas More.
The coming together of so many and outpouring of support nearly brought the mosque’s leader to tears.
“We're not gonna fear. We're not gonna be out of that property. We're gonna be there for forever,” Haydar Elevi said.
The suspects who set the fire remain unknown, but what wasn’t unclear tonight is the commitment to come back stronger.
“When we look through the names of individuals who are donating, we can see that they really represent the cross section of New Haven's faith communities. New Haven civil society. New Haven community action and that response has been really remarkable,” Malika said.
The mosque has raised just shy of $200,000 to rebuild since the fire, and leaders reiterated Wednesday that they’re committed to being able to hold future Iftar dinners in that space again.