FORT SMITH, Ark. — In October of 2016, the Masjid Al Salam in Fort Smith was vandalized. But over one year later, the man behind the act, Abraham Davis, receives his ticket to freedom from the people he hurt the most.
“It shouldn’t be hanging over him for the rest of his life,” President of Al Salam Louay Nassri said.
October of 2016 Swastika’s etched in spray paint and the words “go home” covered the front of the Masjid Al Salam.
The mosque security cameras caught the man behind the act.
“We knew this person did a bad thing and there has to be consequences for their actions,” Nassri said. “But we didn’t have any ill feelings towards anybody.”
Abraham Davis’ felony charge consisted of community service and a hefty fine.
A task Davis might not have been able to complete on his own.
“We heard that he was having financial problems,” Nassri said. “Now if you don’t pay your fine, that’s an automatic six years in jail. Well, we didn’t want him to go to jail for six years.”
So just before the new year arrives, president of Al Salam Louay Nassri decided to write a check for one-thousand seven hundred dollars to wipe away the rest of Davis’ fines.
“After all that he had been through, we didn’t want him sitting on the severe financial stress,” Nassri said. “And like I told him, we want him to have a much better future.”
The large sum of money was originally set aside for renovations to the mosque.
“We thought this was the right thing to do,” Nassri said. “We thought if someone does something bad and came and apologized, you just forgive them. That should be the natural thing. We had no idea that this forgiveness would be an international story.”
Nassri says “Al Salam” means “peace” and he continues to uphold that meaning.
“If he would’ve known who we are, he wouldn’t of done this,” Nassri said. “If we would’ve known his troubles with us, we would’ve tried to help him. Communication is extremely important. Education is extremely important.”