The New York Times has a heart-warming followup of its article about how a Fort Smith mosque and one of those convicted of vandalizing it had come together in forgiveness and regret.
The Times reported in August about Abraham Davis, who wrote to the mosque from his jail cell to express regret for joining in vandalizing the mosque. Its leaders forgave him and even advocated for him.
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The last time I had seen Abraham was in the blistering heat of July, and he was dutifully showing up for his community service at a Goodwill store. But he didn’t have a paying job, and everything seemed tenuous.
Despite the mosque’s best efforts, Abraham ended up with a felony. He was also saddled with around $3,200 in fines and restitution. A reader of my article — a generous mother in Florida whose son had once made a similar mistake — sent a contribution. But most of the debt still remained to be paid. It was one of his life’s daily stresses: If he stopped making monthly payments, he could end up in prison for six years.
Five months later, that worry was wiped away, when Hisham Yasin, the mosque’s lively social director, climbed the stairs of the courthouse with a cashier’s check. That was what had left Abraham speechless next to the Christmas tree.
“There’s no words,” he said, his hands covering his face. “English. Find it.”
There’s much more good news in the story. Davis has a job. Contributions and good feelings have poured into the mosque from around the country. Said Davis:
“It’s a great weight being lifted off of my shoulders,” he said, looking at the floor. “And I don’t deserve it, but this act of kindness, it’s just, wow.”