On March 22, 2019, the usual service of Friday prayers at the King Fahad Mosque had an added benefit; it was a moment when Culver City community members stepped into offer support and solidarity.
Since the shooting at two mosques in New Zealand on March 15, 2019, many in the Culver City community have dropped bouquets of flowers, and drawn colored-chalk messages of kindness on the sidewalks near the Washington Boulevard mosque. The islamophobia that has ebbed and flowed through the 21st Century has come to a high tide recently with a mosque in the California city of Escondido set on fire and vandalized with graffiti that referenced that attack in Christchurch just last night.
Culver City community leaders came to listen to Friday prayers and afterwards, spoke briefly to the crowded mosque. Vice Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells offered her comments, saying “As we mourn for our brothers and sisters in New Zealand, we will not ever let hate win our hearts. We stand side by side, embracing beautiful diversity that makes us stronger, wiser, healthier and happier as a community.”
School Board President Dr. Kelly Kent also offered her thoughts, “As a neuroscientist, I know that it’s always about relationships, that is how our brains work to create the world.” She spoke about the commitment to education that renders prejudice useless, and the power of connection that holds all the children of Culver City in high esteem.
Reverend Floyd McKeithen of the Culver Palms United Methodist Church spoke briefly, and Rebecca Rona-Tuttle read a statement of support from Rabbi Zachary Shapiro of Temple Akiba, who was unable to attend.
Many of those attending the Friday service stayed afterwards to shake hands and and thank the community members for coming to show their support.