The Muslim congregation at a suburban Adelaide mosque where a worshipper was attacked last week has been overwhelmed by a show of public support in the wake of the incident.
After evening prayer on Friday, the worshipper was punched in the face at Marion Mosque at Park Holme by a member of the public.
The victim was struck after refusing to answer questions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, stating that he did not have the necessary insight.
The congregation has since been inundated with expressions of support, including comments on social media, Islamic Society of SA President Ahmad Zreika said.
Mr Zreika said while the Muslim community has often grappled with racism, particularly over the last few years, such an outpouring was reassuring to the community’s members.
“[It’s] feeling you are part of this community, you are not isolated, you are not alone,” he said.
Mr Zreika said one man had visited the mosque with flowers to show his solidarity.
“It’s extremely touching and means so much to our community,” Mr Zreika said.
“Every single community has good and bad people.”
‘Our doors will stay open’
The Islamic Society said messages on Facebook from members of the non-Muslim community have offered support and sympathy.
“There are many regular Australians all around who would actively assist if anyone was causing trouble for your community,” one person wrote.
Another said: “Although I am not religious myself, all of your mosques will always be sacrosanct to me.”
Mr Zreika said the victim has also been praised for not retaliating against his attacker.
But he said while the support has been incredible, it is disheartening that the community only garners attention when there is a negative event.
“When something bad happens, all the [news] channels come but when we have something good we’re doing, everyone says it’s not a story to tell,” he said.
The attack was not the first at the mosque this year, with earlier incidents involving the severed head of a pig, and a baseball bat and eggs.
Mr Zreika said security at the mosque would have to be increased, but said authorities were yet to decide how.
“The mosque is a public place and is open most of the time,” he said.
“Our doors will always remain open to the public.”