An Austin-area Muslim community that helps maintain a stretch of road in Round Rock had its official Adopt-A-Highway sign vandalized. The sign is on A.W. Grimes Boulevard between Old Settlers and University Boulevards.
Someone over the weekend sprayed black paint over the part of the sign that said "Ahmadiyya Muslim," the name of the community that cleans litter from the stretch of highway every three months or so.
A handwritten note attached to the sign read, "A Christian Community USA."
A spokesperson for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Austin believes the vandalism was done by someone who is "misinformed."
"A lot of bad things are happening in the world that are done in the name of Islam by Al Qaeda or ISIS," the community's general secretary Yasir Mirza says.
"In fact, those groups have distorted the real message of Islam, and we are trying to show the true teachings of Islam," he says. "We do these community service things to try to prove the point that we are not like that."
Mirza says the group's community service includes feeding homeless people, visiting residents at nursing homes and organizing blood drives.
In 2013, members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community were denied a request to march in a Fourth of July parade in Round Rock over "safety" concerns from organizers. Weeks later, the group organizing the march and members of the Muslim community met and reconciled. They cooperated in a blood drive and school supply campaign, the Round Rock Leader reported.
This year, members of the group were allowed in the parade and "really appreciated it," Mirza says. "Something negative that turned into a positive."