Melisa Sarajlic and Senada Gusic were Lincoln kindergartners when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.
The girls, both Bosnian immigrants, didn’t grasp the magnitude of the event at the time, but they clearly remember hostility and distrust for anyone Muslim.
Anyone call bullshit? Kindergartners who don’t remember 9/11 but clearly remember the hostility?
So they kept quiet about their faith, their beliefs and their traditions.
What hostility do these kids really recall?
“Growing up was really hard. I was struggling with my culture and religion,” recalled Sarajlic, now 18. “In school when people talked about their religion, I didn’t want to tell them. It was so hard; I just wanted to fit in.”
Her parents fled Bosnia during the war. They chose to immigrate to the United States because of the promise of the “American Dream,” Sarajlic said.
“In our quest for the ultimate ‘American Dream,’ our parents realized that we were all going to lose our heritage and faith,” she recalled. “So all the parents decided to rent out a room at (what is now) the People’s City Mission (Homeless Prevention Center) for us to gather together and not be afraid to share our religion with each other.”
They created Sabah Youth Group — a cadre of about 20 teens and 20-somethings who pray, play and work together to live the tenets of a faith that calls for acceptance of all.
More taqiyya: Koran 5.051 anyone? “O ye who believe! take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends“
“It (Sabah Youth Group) is the only place where we aren’t judged for our religion, heritage and way of life,” Sarajlic said.
The group of mostly Bosnian and some Middle Eastern immigrants soon outgrew the tiny room at 27th and O streets — especially during Ramadan, the Muslim holy month.
So the Sabah Youth Group held a donation night — asking their families and fellow Muslims to donate money toward finding a new building for the community.
They raised nearly $200,000.
In 2008, they bought the long-empty Abundant Life Family Church at 1145 Furnas Ave. Hardworking parents and lots of elbow grease have transformed the church into a mosque.
What a better way to build trust amongst those you are commanded in the Holy Koran not to befriend than to convert their church into a mosque?
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