Two women were arrested after horrifying videos showed them breaking into and vandalising a mosque in Arizona with three children in tow.
Ahmad Al-Koum, the interfaith and outreach director for the Islamic Community Center of Tempe, said that some of his members were "scared and very disturbed and disgusted" by the situation, according to The Independent.
But in the weeks since, the mosque has received outpourings of love and solidarity from interfaith allies.
Kristy Sabbah, office manager at the mosque, said the messages just have not stopped, telling HuffPost that the response had been "overwhelming".
It’s beautiful to see how two people’s hate brought together hundreds of people in love.
Along with the messages, emails and phone calls, supporters are sending the mosque flowers and sweets, with many visiting with their children to give handmade cards of love and support, reports the news site.
The mosque hosted a 'Love and Coffee' event on Saturday, which they livestreamed, in response to the disturbing footage.
In the event description on Facebook, they say they want to show the world that "love overcomes hate" through sharing coffee and pastries, and listening to speeches from allies and elected officials.
Attendees of the event signed a letter to show their "unity, solidarity and mutual support". The letter, which is now on display in the mosque's office, continued:
You are a valuable member of our community and we are grateful for your existence.
May you never feel along in the face of any adversary for we stand with you.
The two women in the video were arrested and charged with third degree burglary – a charge that could be upgraded to a hate crime.
The video, which was livestreamed on Facebook and soon went viral, showed them grabbing pamphlets, ripping down flyers and yelling derogatory comments about Muslims, claiming they were trying to expose the "evil" of Islam.
The pair also took Qurans, air fresheners, calendars and other items, according to a probable cause statement obtained by Arizona Central.
Members of the mosque were particularly concerned that children were involved.
Hate crimes against Muslims rose for the second year in a row in 2016, according to an FBI report. The Council on American-Islamic Relations, which collects data on hate crimes, found anti-Muslim incidents spiked in the first half of 2017 too – a rise they link to Donald Trump winning the Presidency.
Zainab Arain, coordinator in CAIR’s Department to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia, said:
The presidential election campaign and the Trump administration have tapped into a seam of bigotry and hate that has resulted in the targeting of American Muslims and other minority groups.
If acts of bias impacting the American Muslim community continue as they have been, 2017 could be one of the worst years ever for such incidents.
The leader of the Anti-Defamation League, an organisation dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism, called the video “extremely disturbing and ugly on so many levels”. CEO Jonathan Greenblatt told The Independent:
Sadly, the behaviour we see in the videos is consistent with the growth in hate crimes, rise in attacks on Muslims, and the surge in anti-Muslim bigotry and anti-Semitism we have seen the last couple of years.