Tuesday, Jul 26, 2016
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Muslim leader helps in church rebuilding

Yehia “John” Shousher knows what it's like to be displaced from a place of worship.

Mr. Shousher, a senior member of the Islamic Center and former longtime administrator, and others who attend the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo were without access to the mosque for months after an arsonist set fire inside the Perrysburg Township center.

“I know what it is and how other people feel if they lose places to worship,” he said. “I don't like to see that happen.”

On Thursday, Mr. Shousher decided to help the congregation of St. Mark Baptist Church by donating $1,000 toward the rebuilding effort.

“We thank God for it,” said the Rev. I.J. Johnson of St. Mark. “I've been here 58 years and it's been hard in this city. For people to think that much of us, to donate to us, to help us, I don't have words in my vocabulary to express how I appreciate it and how our church appreciates it.”

One week ago today, the central Toledo church at 1419 N. Detroit Ave. was destroyed by a midday fire.

Fire Lt. Matthew Hertzfeld said the cause of the fire has not been determined and was under investigation.

Mr. Shousher said he does not know Pastor Johnson but wanted to help regardless.

“What can I do?” Mr. Shousher said. “It's only a drop in a bucket. I'm obligated to the community to give back.”

Mr. Shousher said he's confident that others will step forward and contribute to the rebuilding effort.

“I believe we have a good community,” he said.

Contributions can be sent to Huntington Bank, St. Mark Baptist Church, P.O. Box 350515, Toledo.

— Taylor Dungjen

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