Religious Oklahoma Leader Emotional After Act of Interfaith Kindness From Teen

Synthia Stark

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Photo by Frederick Warren on Unsplash

In Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, there’s an imam named Dr. Imam Imad Enchassi. For those of you not aware, imams are Muslim religious leaders, kind of like a priest. This specific imam is a Palestinian American who has hopes for multifaith collaboration after seeing someone from another faith help his congregation out.

You see, he was approached by a teenage girl, who identified herself as belonging to the Jewish faith. The teenager asked him at his mosque if she could donate her babysitting money to help out Palestinians.

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Screenshot of Imad Enchassi from the Oklahoma City University website

The imam, Imad Enchassi, was reportedly working outside of his Oklahoma mosque a week ago when a car dropped off the teenager. The teenager had been apparently looking for the imam.

She has arrived on a Wednesday between prayers before sunset, and at the time, the only person there was the imam. The imam was wearing his gym clothes and had a cap on while he did some yard work.

The 56-year-old imam had joked about it later on:

“Apparently, I was not dressed as an imam. And then I said: ‘Yes, I’m the imam. Can I help you?’”

The teenager had an envelope in her hand with $80 in it. She told him that she wanted to help out a family in need in Gaza.

She had specifically told him:

“I want you to tell them this is from a young Jewish girl that worked all week babysitting, and that we love them and feel their pain.”

The kind gesture had caught the imam off-guard and he accepted her gift. He was so moved by it that he posted about it on social media. His post was shared over 4500 times, received hundreds of comments, and had over 1000 likes.

He had written:

“She walked into the Mosque and asked for me — a young and beautiful teen with a worried smile on her face. She handed me an envelope and said ‘I know some of your congregants are from Gaza.’”
“Please find a local Gazan family and give them this. Tell them it’s from a Jewish American girl that worked babysitting all week to earn this. Tell them we love them and we are sorry for their pain.”

He had also written: 

“Humanity is marvellous indeed.”

You can see an image of the envelope below:

Many people commented on the post, including those who indicated that they were almost crying at the gesture. 

For example, one person wrote:

“Your post made me cry.”

The imam responded back to the person with:

“Crying with you.”

The imam reported that many of his congregants had lost several relatives in Gaza because of the conflict between Israel and Hamas, so it’s understandable that the gesture between two kind people (from different faiths) was seen as very sweet. 

When the teenager had given him the money gift, he reported feeling some wholesome emotions and mused that she was an awesome girl. When he asked for her name, she did not provide one, so he further mused that she wanted to remain anonymous.

“For this young lady to come — I’m just imagining my teenager, my teenage kid and their strong sense of social justice and their strength. So I can see that it’s … her heart being poured out for the people of Gaza.”

While the imam didn’t get a chance to ask her further questions, he thinks the donation was prompted by a recent rally that the Oklahoma City mosque had recently. Many of his congregation spoke about losing many family members in Gaza.

Many bad things have occurred across America, where people of different faiths may not always agree on things. It’s beautiful that in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, people of two different faiths were able to agree on something — that when the times are tough, people need moral and financial support.

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