HAWTHORNE (CBSLA.com) — Amid heightened anti-Muslim sentiment following the San Bernardino massacre, voices of calm are coming from children.

That’s because dozens of kids from St. Joseph Catholic School and Islamic Center for Hawthorne came together for a meet-and-greet after-school on Monday.

“The most important part of all this is that they realize they’re children, that they have a lot more similarities than differences,” said Dr. Roy Quinto, the principal of St. Joseph Catholic School.

The event was organized by both principals of the schools after vandals hit the mosque this weekend. The vandals spray-painted “Jesus is the Way” on a front gate, along with drawings of crosses on the windows.

It’s the kind of misplaced backlash Muslims at the mosque say they’ve been bracing for ever since law enforcement said the San Bernardino shooters might have been radicalized Islamic extremists.

“As Muslims, we have nothing to do with this,” Ahmed Azam of the Islamic Center of Hawthorne said. “In fact, the message coming here is two schools, two different faiths coming together with one objective, one goal that we have a lovely and peaceful life together.” That’s a lesson he says is best learned young.

The meeting wasn’t the first time St. Joseph members have visited the mosque. Parishioners visited Saturday, the day before the mosque was vandalized.

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