A large green and white painting of Jesus Christ hanging on the cross was left outside the Hillside Islamic Centre in Long Island, New York on Friday. Police is now investigating the incident as a “hate crime”, reported Daily Mail.
“A worker there had found this large painting of Christ on a cross on the property,” reported an anchor for NBC 4. “The anti-Muslim message was found hanging from a fence, deemed to be so obviously because it was a mosque.”
The man who hung the painting outside the Islamic centre and left was caught on camera as well. The police department urged anyone in the community with additional knowledge of the incident to contact them.
A member of the centre said although Jesus was considered a prophet in Islam, “that’s not what he (the man who placed it there) meant” when he hung the painting out on the fence. “He meant something else, you know. We don’t believe in image. We don’t have an image for Jesus, you know. We don’t have an image for Muhammad (Pbuh).”
The president of the mosque, Abdul Aziz Bhuyian, told The Island Now, “I’m sure… he wanted to provoke. Had he had good intentions he would have come to us. We’re always here.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) condemned the incident but also suggested it could provide a learning opportunity for members of the community.
News 21 Long Island concluded its coverage of the incident by reporting that the Islamic Centre will soon host an “interfaith barbecue” on July 21 in “hopes of building trust and understanding in the community”.[caption id="attachment_74319" align="aligncenter" width="800"] The Council on American-Islamic Relations claim these 'World of Islam' books by Mason Crest Publishing contain misleading and inflammatory rhetoric against Islam AP[/caption]
Jesus is one of the most highly regarded prophets in Islam. Since the Holy Quran is written in Arabic, Jesus’ name is translated to Isa ibn Maryam or Jesus, the son of Mary. He is mentioned a total of 187 times in the Quran, but is referenced in different ways: Ruhullah (Spirit from God), al-Masih (the Messiah), kalimatim-minallaah (Word from God) and Rasulullah (Messenger of God).
His mother, the Virgin Mary, has an entire chapter in the Quran named after her and is mentioned a total of 34 times. It’s chapter 19 in the Quran and is titled Surah Maryam.
Like Christians, Muslims believe Jesus will return on the Day of Judgement, and defeat the Antichrist. The main difference between Christianity and Islam regarding Jesus is that Muslims do not believe he was the son of God. Muslims believe he was able to make blind men see, heal the sick and raise the dead, but all through the assistance of God’s power.
Nasher, CAIR’s executive director in New York, said the incident at the Hillside Islamic Centre is an “opportunity for community engagement and to root out Islamophobia.” She also said Islamophobia goes hand-in-hand with ignorance.
“There’s a reason for that,” Nasher explained. “The less they know, the more ignorant they are, and the more ignorant they are, the more susceptible they are to hate speech and fear-mongering. And then you see these surges in hate crimes and attacks on mosques all across the nation.”