A universal symbol of peace may soon become a centerpiece of downtown Wausau.
An Egyptian student at NorthCentral Technical College wants to raise money for a peace sculpture he helped design.
Moustafa Saleh's family and friends didn't want him to study in the U.S.
they were afraid his Arab background would put him in danger, and so did he.
"For my experience, I didn't think I'd get all the kind, the smiles, the love from people here," Saleh said.
But local residents have welcomed him with open arms.
"People have been friendly and helpful and try to help you with anything you need, try to ask you a lot if you need something, and smiling in front of me," he said.
Saleh, 29, realized peace should be spread throughout the world, and why not start in the city that has shown him love and respect.
The sculpture is 10 feet of steel. It's a dove holding a world globe, with the word peace written in English on one wing, in Arabic on the other. It will also include peace in all languages on the sculpture's base.
"I'm also looking to talk with my country to look at creating another one in my country, so it will be like bridge between peace between two country."
The City Council approved the location, at the intersection of River Drive, Washington Street and First Street.
Members will work on a policy to go along with the sculpture.
"What we don't wanna do is put up a sculpture that would polarize the community, what we wanna do is continue to unite the community and this is a step in that right direction," said Mayor Jim Tipple, who supports the idea.
Now the fundraising process begins. The price tag...$15,000.
The project has come under some scrutiny. A letter sent to City Hall depicted four images from the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks. Below the photos was a caption that read: "The Wausau City Council: Islamo-Facist Sympathizers or Merely a Ship of Fools?"
Saleh says this has nothing to do with war or terrorism, just a way to spread peace.
Donations for this project can be sent to:
The Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin
500 First Street, Suite 2600
Wausau, WI 54403.
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