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Volunteers step up to erase Mercer mosque graffiti

Princeton Times photo by Tammy Toler  Michael Parks, Derek Zeigler and Barbie Dobbins strive to scrub graffiti off of the wall of the Islamic Society of the Appalachian Region’s mosque Tuesday. A vandal used spray paint to vandalize the building on Dec. 16, 2013, and the damage was still somewhat visible.
Princeton Times photo by Tammy Toler
Michael Parks, Derek Zeigler and Barbie Dobbins strive to scrub graffiti off of the wall of the Islamic Society of the Appalachian Region’s mosque Tuesday. A vandal used spray paint to vandalize the building on Dec. 16, 2013, and the damage was still somewhat visible.

PRINCETON, W.Va. — A handful of Princeton residents wielded scrub brushes and paint thinner to combat a vandal’s anger Tuesday.

Michael Parks, Derek Zeigler and Barbie Dobbins spent much of Tuesday volunteering their time and materials to continue working to remove graffiti spray-painted on the exterior walls of the Islamic Society of the Appalachian Region’s mosque situated alongside U.S. 460.

“This is bigotry and hate right here on a wall,” Parks said.

The ISAR Islamic Center was vandalized once in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. At the time, local Islamic leaders said the community stepped up and assisted in the clean-up process.

When a similar situation occurred on Dec. 16, 2013, an anonymous source who reportedly spoke with Al Jazeera America said he felt the community simply turned its back on the situation.

“In 2001, there was a huge outpouring of support from the community, and everyone came together to help us restore our mosque. We haven’t seen that this time around,” the unnamed ISAR Executive Committee member was quoted as saying in the story.

That story was published online Monday, and Parks spotted it during a random web search.

He decided then and there to take positive action. He drove to the Green Valley site of the mosque, noticed the front gate was open and made the trip to Lowe’s to purchase supplies…

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