Thursday, August 9, 2012

Christian College Student Leads Rally Of Support After Mosque Burned To Ground

by Josh Levs, CNN

When 20-year-old Ashley Carter heard about a mosque burned to the ground in her town this week, she was shocked.

"I was very saddened," she told CNN on Wednesday. "I thought it was very evil."

So Carter, a student at Ozark Christian College in Joplin, Missouri, texted a friend, suggesting they organize an event "promoting acts of love."

But quickly, the idea changed: They would organize a "rally of people coming together, from all walks of life, all religions, a really diverse group of people trying to promote this radical love."

She called Kimberly Kester, spokeswoman for the Islamic Society of Joplin, whose worship house serving about 50 families in the southwest Missouri city burned down Monday. Investigators have not determined the cause, but the mosque has been attacked in the past.

Kester supported the idea. So Carter and some of her friends created the plan for the rally and announced it on a Facebook page. The next day, Tuesday, word began to spread. By Wednesday morning, more than 400 people had posted that they would attend the event, scheduled for Saturday, August 25.

Carter said she was inspired by "my love for Jesus. And I know that Jesus calls us to love people."

"With everything that's been happening in the news this week" - which includes a shooting Sunday at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin that left six worshipers and the gunman dead - "I was pretty discouraged," Carter said. "Regardless of what you believe, I think everybody's entitled to loving whoever."

Kester told CNN she and other members of the mosque plan to attend the rally.

Read the full article at CNN's Belief Blog.