‘A hate crime was committed’

Published 10:47 am Tuesday, October 3, 2017


On Sept. 27, a hate crime was committed in Farmville. Vandals spray painted an obscenity and an insult to people of the Islamic faith on the side of the Islamic Center of Prince Edward County’s mosque. There is no room for obfuscating or dithering. It is important that we call this act what it is — a hate crime. Now, it is up to us to respond with love and with compassion.

We live in a hateful time. Politicians’ rhetoric is charged with intolerance that targets people of different races, those who practice different religions and even opponents in the halls of governments.

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But this hatred that surrounds us does not excuse us from caring about our neighbors and our neighbors have come under attack.

People have been circulating the Desmond Tutu (often misattributed to Martin Luther King Jr.) quote about neutrality: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” And don’t get me wrong, that’s an important component of responding to injustice.

But another aspect is just as important: Elie Wiesel reminds us that “the opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”

Five decades ago, the Prince Edward community chose indifference as schools were shut down and an entire race of people lost their right to education.

Today, it’s up to us to make sure that we don’t make that decision again. Today, it’s up to us not to choose neutrality. Today, it’s up to us to choose love and combat hatred and indifference.

Today, it’s up to us.

Alexander Abbott

Area Coordinator for Programming,

Diversity and Inclusion

Hampden-Sydney College