Neighbors come out and cook for local mosque

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV)-- When Mohamed Aboutabl was parking his car to attend his normal Friday prayer at the Islamic Center of the Shenandoah Valley, he noticed several women standing out front, greeting people.

"I said, oh. Something is going to happen today -- something is cooking," said Aboutabl.

Something was cooking. Literally. Ever since the immigration rally in downtown Harrisonburg on Sunday, folks have been planning.

"This is just a hands-on way to get the message across that we are here, we love you, we welcome you, you're a valuable part of our community," said Melanie Miller, a volunteer.

After what many community members considered a tumultuous week for Valley Muslims and refugees, now they are taking food out of their own refrigerators, and putting it on the table of the local mosque.

"That says a lot, that these people have really strong feelings, positive feelings towards us," said Aboutabl.

Aboutabl says the prophet Muhammad once said to gain the love of people, feed them. So, for other people in the community to take time out of their day and cook for them, it means more than they will ever know.

He also says places like Harrisonburg are what make America so special.

"This is America. This is America that welcomes immigrants from around the world, " said Aboutabl.

"I was so blessed. I loved seeing the joy on everybody's faces, and I think I received way more than I gave today," said Miller.

Aboutabl added, in a time when so many people are against each other -- this is how we as a people -- win.

"Because if we don't do it together, we are going to collapse together," said Aboutabl.