When a man shot up their mosque, the Connecticut congregation welcomed him with open arms after he felt remorse and returned, armed with an apology instead.
Ted Hakey, Jr. had been drinking heavily after November’s Paris attacks, stewing over the terrorists who identify as Muslims. In haste, he took his gun and opened fire on the empty mosque next door to his house.
No one was in the Baitul Aman building at the time, but Hakey was arrested and faces serious charges.
He says he was going through “a tough time” and that his violent reaction went against everything he believed in. He apologized to the U.S. Marine Corps in which he’d served years earlier, and wanted to apologize to his Muslim neighbors in person.
When he returned to the mosque (its name means “House of Peace”) to ask for forgiveness, he was surprised by members’ reaction.
The congregation almost immediately forgave Hakey — then invited him to their services.
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Their reaction profoundly affected Hakey, who has pleaded guilty to a hate crime and is awaiting sentencing.
Standing before the congregation Saturday he told them God had to be proud that they weren’t afraid to continue worshiping after the shooting.
Mosque President, Mohammed Qureshi said Hakey’s apology brought tears to the eyes of mosque members. He said Hakey fired on the mosque because he didn’t understand its message and motto, which is “Love for all, hatred for none.”
“We now see it in his heart and we see it in his eyes,” Qureshi told the Hartford Courant. “We will be better neighbors.”
(WATCH the video below from WVIT or READ more at the Hartford Courant — Warning, Courant content autoplays) — Photo: WVIT News
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