Loving All Our Neighbors (Part 5)

LombargIL

The Lombard, IL IncidentReltavism

The Lombard incident is described in the OCM article as follows (emphasis added).

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 5.25.12 AMOn August 12, The College Preparatory School of America (CPSA), a fulltime Muslim school in Lombard, had a bottle full of acid thrown at the school during Ramadan Prayers. The following Saturday, ISN members, plus members from two United Church of Christ churches, visited the school to express support and concern. They met with the teachers, then greeted parents as they arrived for school orientation, holding signs that said, “We are concerned,” “Hate has no place in Lombard,” and “Our hearts are with you.” One of our Presbyterian pastors spoke to the assembled group, saying “You are not alone” and presented a prayer shawl to the principal.

Note that the culprit has not been identified. Thus, we have no information about the perpetrator or the motive.

The Daily Herald published an article on August 14, 2012 that described the incident and interviewed numerous individuals. Of particular relevance are statements made by Mohammed Saeed and Imaad Shaikh, both board members of the school. Their statements from this article are excerpted below.

Saeed said the Lombard school opened about 22 years ago and has never before come under physical attack, other than instances of minor vandalism. About 400 students attend the school, which is used for prayer services and other activities during summer break.

Shaikh said the school has a good relationship with its neighbors and is looking to expand because of increasing enrollment.

And yet, in spite of these statements from the school’s board members the OCM article describes protestors:

… holding signs that said … “Hate has no place in Lombard.”

So, when the PoC participated in actions against “hate” and “violence” in Lombard, whom were they speaking against? Were I a passerby or resident, I might reasonably conclude that these pejorative labels were being applied to the community in general.

As of this writing, the perpetrator(s) of this incident remains unidentified. Thus, since the identify and motivation of those responsible were and continue to be unknown, the Presbytery of Chicago’s tying of the word “hate” to the Village of Lombard is both unjustified and irresponsible.

What possible rational purpose could a Christian organization have to so cruelly slander an entire community?

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