Ann Arbor Embraces Local Muslim Community

Amazing open house yesterday at Ann Arbor Mosque from 3 to 5. Young and old of many religions celebrate solidarity with the Muslim community in response to Republicans’ incitement to hatred. Arrive a few moments after 3:30 expecting to park in the lot, go inside, mingle, meet members, express my solidarity, and leave. Instead, I am turned away by a traffic cop who tells me the lot is full. I park at the lot of an adjacent business complex. Warm greeting at the mosque door, asked to take off shoes, as is customary. Glance at the heels of my socks and am relieved to find that I had grabbed a pair that didn’t have any holes.

Formal program taking place in what looked like a reception hall. Chairs all filled. Standing room only. Not able to take notes while squeezed as we were. But I did manage to secure a piece of baklava from the dessert table. I’m happy to see Temple Beth Emeth well represented, including rabbi and more than a handful of congregants. Not sure how many speakers there were altogether. Arrived to hear last three, including Mayor Taylor.

The overriding message: We are all one. We’re all in this together. America’s motto, “E Pluribus Unum,” means from many, one. And the expected joke: Donald Trump brought us together. It was a light moment for a serious affair.

Talk with mother of four children, from Jordan, in country five years. She notes that Americans read more than Jordanians. I ask her if I can shake her hand, offer my hand but cautiously so as to not offend. She smiles. Says no with no unnecessary explanation. We both laugh. I say I’m a hugger.

Members of mosque community acknowledge that they should have done this sooner. I agree but that goes for all of us.