Islamic Society of Coachella Valley in USA hosted a forum the Cathedral city public library on Saturday to discuss the true teachings of Islam.
After a suspected hate crime targeting the Islamic Society of the Coachella Valley in USA which resulted in partial destruction of the mosque, members hosted a forum at the Cathedral city public library on Saturday to discuss the true teachings of Islam and the people who practice it.
The mosque was firebombed on Dec. 11 when someone threw an incendiary device at the front of the building that scorched most of the mosque’s lobby.
Carl Dial, a 23-year-old Palm Desert resident, was arrested later that day and has since been charged with five felonies including arson and committing a hate crime. He pleaded not guilty last week.
The mosque, which plans to rebuild on land members had already arranged to buy, wants to put closure to the hate crime, acting Imam Reymundo Nour said. This is why he wanted to reach out to the community and offer information about what he and his fellow Muslims believe.
“For anyone who believes that Islam is to cause destruction or harm or to wreak havoc and destruction is not a true Muslim,” Nour said. “I know today that it may be hard to believe that Islam is related to anything close to peace, but we have to separate Islam from culture. … If someone behaves this way, they are completely misguided and have misread the scriptures.”
Any “dollar scholar” can be paid to find different meaning in texts, Nour said, but true Islam is apart from all of those interpretations.
Of the 20 people who attended the forum, all had questions for Nour, ranging from Islamic prayer, Sharia law to Islam’s perspective on Jesus.
Fareed Salahuddin, of Cathedral City, brought his wife, Karen Carlson, to the forum in order to teach her more about the religion he practices. She does not.
“I thought this would be a good place for her to learn about it, not just in an Islamic setting,” Salahuddin said.
Allen Killfoile, a Cathedral City resident, said he reads the Bible every day, but knew nothing about Islam prior to the forum.
The mosque is planning another “Discover Islam” forum in February, but has yet to determine the exact time, date or location, Nour said.
“I think the questions are great. We never shy away from those,” he added. “We have nothing to hide. Islam is what it is.”