Muslim and Jewish communities clean graffiti on Duluth mosque

The Muslim and Jewish communities in Duluth gathered last weekend to remove graffiti found on a local mosque.

John Dahl, president of the executive board of the Islamic Center of the Twin Ports, reached out to Temple Israel, a synagogue a few miles away, to ask for help cleaning up the graffiti. He says he was nervous about the ask.

“What I quickly found out was that … not only was the Jewish community receptive to it, but they would actually consider it almost an honor to come over and help,” Dahl said. “I was just overjoyed, because I was hoping that that’s exactly the reaction that this request would have elicited.”

The graffiti may have been a “blessing in disguise,” Dahl said, as it brought the interfaith communities together.

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The Islamic Center of Twin Ports and Temple Israel worked together to remove graffiti on Sunday.

Courtesy photo

“Everybody wanted to help, everybody wanted to grab a brush. And so we had probably way more help than we needed, which is absolutely fine,” he said.

The cleanup also led to conversations about the war in Israel and Gaza.

“I heard many people from the temple express that it just felt good right now in these times to physically do something that felt like it was building a bridge,” Dahl said.

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The Islamic Center of Twin Ports and Temple Israel worked together to remove graffiti on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2023.

Courtesy photo

Dahl discovered the graffiti the day after Hamas attacked Israel. He said he was irritated by the act but came to the conclusion that it wasn’t a hate crime.

The two faith communities also plan to celebrate a Shabbat evening together in December.

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