Community rallies around Muslim Mason woman falsely accused of terrorism

MASON, OH (FOX19) - The community is rallying behind a Mason woman who was falsely accused of being a terrorist.

It happened when someone distributed fake "terrorist warning" flyers in her neighborhood.

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Protestors gathered outside of the Mason Community Center Sunday to show support for her. They lined the streets and held up signs.

The protestors said that they want people of all faiths and backgrounds, including Muslims, to know that they are welcome in Mason.

"We do not want them to feel scared, unwelcome or afraid," Cyndi Ritter, who helped organize the rally, said.

It was a community effort that was triggered by the flyer that stated a Mason woman, who is Muslim, is linked to terrorism.

However, the accusations are not true.

Rawd Saleh was the woman targeted by the flyers. Her name, photo and address were listed on the pieces of paper.

"The flyers just kind of put me, but not only me, my children, my whole neighborhood, right in the line of fire," Saleh said.

What started as a scary situation, Saleh said, is now an incredible movement of support. On top of Sunday's rally, she has gotten cards, flowers and letters from all over the state.

"It's just so humbling, heartwarming to know how many people don't think that way, are not afraid of my hijab on my head," Saleh said.

Saleh said the rally was not about her. It was about religious freedom, accepting everyone and encouraging all to have an open mind.

"It's not about just the middle-easterners that are dealing with it or about Muslims dealing with it," Saleh said Sunday. "Today's rally is to show solidarity for the whole entire nation."

Protestors said their message is clear: "We are not going to accept hate and bigotry in our community," Ritter said.

They believe that message echoed from the crowds that lined the streets.

At the rally, Saleh told the crowd "Thank you to the person that distributed the crazy flyers that brought us all together to show solidarity for not just Muslims, but for everybody."

Saleh told FOX19 Now that she forgives the person who created the flyers, but hopes that person will apologize to the community for putting families at risk and for creating unnecessary panic.

Mason Police said last week when FOX19 Now broke the story that they are investigating.

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