Although some Lake Travis residents spent today picking out roses for loved ones and browsing racks of greeting cards, a number of local citizens were beautifying the burned site of what was to be the new home for the Islamic Center of Lake Travis, 4700 Doss Road, Austin.
The rally brought together the Lake Travis community to create notes and cards of support for the congregation’s members and were posted on the gate that surrounding the charred site. Organized by the Lake Travis Progressives, a group of about 450 members whose founder Mindy Galati said was formed in December to be a resource for support in Lake Travis, the event drew adults and children from the Westlake area, Spicewood, Lakeway, Bee Cave, Steiner Ranch and River Place.
“We were shocked and saddened by the loss of the [Islamic] center and wanted to show our love for the community,” said Marcy Baird, a Progressives member and longtime River Place resident.
A fire broke out at the structure site Jan. 7, causing extensive damage to the building down to its foundation. The center was under construction and slated to be completed in April, said Anjum Hanafi, a member of the congregation and Steiner Ranch resident.
“[The community response] has been overwhelming,” Hanafi said. “This has been a tragic event. If this [rally turnout] is what comes out of [the fire], then it is a bright spot. We are incredibly appreciative and grateful.”
She said the congregation plans to rebuild the center in the same location. The community does not have a set timeline yet for construction and is waiting for the fire marshal’s report as to the cause of the fire to be released, she said.
Galati said she hopes her group will bring some of the political action that takes place in the city to the suburbs.
“This is our community,” she said.
Lakeway resident Nialler Swan brought his five-year-old son Gareth to the event.
“Someone’s place of worship burned down,” he said. “No matter our differences, some things are beyond the pale.”