For many Muslim Americans, the rhetoric from the 2016 election served as a reminder about the rise of Islamophobia in America. That's why a random and anonymous act of love directed at a Muslim community in Virginia meant so much this past weekend.
On Sunday, members of the Mubarak Mosque in Chantilly, Virginia discovered positive messages of support written in chalk on the sidewalk outside of their house of worship. The messages included, "We are with you" and "You are loved."
While no one has claimed responsibility for enacting this kind gesture, the members of the mosque believe that people from other local religious groups might be behind this heartwarming action.
"It made us feel proud of our faith and proud of our nationality as Americans," Oasim Tariq, a member of the mosque, told the Huffington Post. "These moments of love for humanity go a long way, and we feel blessed to have received such wonderful compassion."
In 2012, when Mubarak Mosque was being built, it was subject to about $81,000 worth of damage due to vandalism. Looking back at that event makes this kind surprise worth even more to the members of the mosque.
"We couldn't help but be awe-struck," Hibbi Iqbal, a member of the mosque and secretary of public affairs in the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. "If we are just with our friend and neighbors, they will be just with us. At the end of the day these are the bonds that will unite us against any forces seeking to destroy."
This kind act was not the first time that someone left an anonymous message of support for Muslim Americans. After the election, a stranger placed a sympathetic note at a mosque in Indiana.