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non-Muslims, large numbers of whom have been contacting mosques and other organizations to condemn the recent antiMuslim crimes and express support. Another note on the door of Morn’s Grocery, taped there along with a dried-out yellow rose, reads: “I leave a yellow rose a symbol of our state. I feel so badly that people of our country can be so selfishValentina.”The store has remained closed since the murder, while the Southeast Dallas Chamber of Commerce has posted a $2,500 reward for information leading to the capture of Hasan’s killer. “We’ve posted flyers with the rewards,” says Kathleen Melton, the chamber’s president. “Some people are afraid to go out and post the flyers. We have a lot from other cultures and a lot of mom-and-pop operations. It’s really affected our community greatly. But the neighborhood is really uniting and trying to catch whoever did this. We’re good-hearted working people.” Forget the melting pot and the salad bowl: In Dallas, the emblem of multicultural society is the strip mall, or rather the countless strip malls that line the city’s vast web of highways. Here chain restaurants and cabrito joints exist side-by-side; a Whole Foods Market full of yoga yuppies and an Indian vegetarian restaurant devoid of white people share the same big parking lot. There are times, perhaps, when this seems to capture the way many of us live, adjacent but separateand when the country’s diversity seems to be reflected more in the number of dining options than in friendships across cultures. Since September 11, though, Muslims and non-Muslims in Dallas have made numerous attempts to open more channels of communication. Instances include a Pakistani-sponsored candlelight vigil, a Saturday afternoon Sikh gathering, an anti-war and antiracism rally planned by a group of young activists, and public events at mosques. On the second Sunday after the terrorist attacks, the Islamic Society of North Texas sponsored a “Know Your Muslim Neighbor” open house, at the Dallas Central Mosque in Richardson. The Society is one of the oldest and largest Muslim organizations in the city, and the mosque complex has expanded over the years to include a library, classrooms, a medical clinic, a basketball court, and a mortuary. Located at the intersection of two six-lane roads, the mosque is scarcely visible from the street, its copper-domed minaret rising up from behind a flank of cedar trees. \(This modesty may have been encouraged by the Richardson City Council, which initially opposed the minaret when the mosque was built 20 front advertised the event”Y’all Come See Us!” it read and the heavy parking lot gates were flung open. Inside, it was as if the throngs that had lately disappeared from airports had all been re-routed here; the mosque would later estimate that 2,500 people had attended over the course of the afternoon. After entering the sunny, crowded lobby, where several volunteers hastened to greet me, I joined five others on a tour of Akhtar Nadeem the mosque. We were led by Nazreen Hasan, an elegant, wellspoken college senior from Southern Methodist University and the president of SMU’s Muslim Students’ Association. An experienced guide, she nonetheless seemed somewhat taken aback by the large and chattery crowd, and my own attention kept wandering from her summary of Islam’s five pillars, distracted by all the suburban grandmothers and the young couples and the curly-haired children skipping across the prayer room. As she took us through the building, Hasan answered . questions from our group about subjects like Mecca and Ramadan. Finally a largish older woman, who had been piping up every so often with something she remembered having learned in college, said she hoped she wasn’t out of line but there was something else she wanted to ask. “Are you glad we’re here,” said the woman to Hasan, “Or do you feel… invaded?” “I’m glad you’re here,” Hasan replied quickly. “The thing that’s really hurting us is ignorance.” She went on to say that while she hadn’t herself been harassed or threatened, she’d heard about other students who had been. Then, solemnly, she stated what everyone there seemed to know already, and what everyone had shown up to affirm: “Our religion doesn’t teach terrorism.” The following evening, I attended a very different gathering born out of the same spirit. Held in the basement of an East Dallas church, it was the third in a series of meetings organized by the Dallas Peace Center to contemplate responses to both the local anti-Arab incidents and the national threat of war. I’d arranged to meet beforehand with Hadi Jawad, a Peace Center board member of Iraqi heritage, who immigrated to the Dallas area from Pakistan when he was 19. Now 49, Jawad has a family and a forklift business 10/12/01 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 7