Over 200 people attended the event held to promote love among people of different faiths
Only a few weeks after two women, identified by law enforcement as Elizabeth Dauenhauer and Tahnee Gonzales, filmed themselves as they vandalized a Tempe, Arizona mosque, local interfaith community members showed up in large numbers to stand united with local Muslims. Kristy Sabbah, the office manager of Tempe's Islamic Community Center, said messages of support continue to pour in even now.
The people who gathered at the Mosque grounds were not there to erase that memory. They wanted to prove hate could be overcome. Shayna Stevens, a board member of CAIR-Arizona and a Muslim American, said what excites her is that the same playground which the two women described as disease-ridden is the same place where children learn to love. Hate has been abolished in favor of love. The mosque is an old structure and a short distance away from Arizona State University. Gonzales and Dauenhauer did a live stream of themselves ransacking the interiors of the mosque. They also mocked Muslims as dog eaters and child molesters. The two even encouraged three children to take copies of the Quran and pamphlets from the courtyard of the mosque. Gonzales is 32-years-old and Dauenhauer is 51-years-old.
Both Dauenhauer and Gonzales were arrested on burglary charges on the evidence of their Facebook live video. Gonzales appears to lecture the concerned children along with her Facebook audience in the video. She explained how the U.S. is being destroyed by Muslims. She also claims that Muslims worship the devil.
What especially riled Sabbah and the mosque community was how both the women seemingly encouraged the children to be blatantly Islamophobic and racist. A young girl could be heard making troubling statements like Muslims wait for a time when they could rape non-Muslims and that “they smell like goats.” Sabbath said it is her hope that the two women will be prosecuted to the maximum extent. However, she hoped the children will learn to be compassionate as children at that age are smart and have pure hearts.
Tempe's Islamic Community Center partnered with several interfaith and local Muslim organizations to host an event at the mosque. The event, named Love and Coffee was fully live-streamed on Facebook. Over 200 community members attended the event.
People are bringing their children to the Islamic center with handmade cards of love and encouragement. Vandalized Arizona Mosque Flooded With Support From Interfaith Allies https://t.co/iu0m3UYJSr via @HuffPostRelig
— Victor Bryan Stone (@Vic_Stone1) March 21, 2018