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Common Word, Common Lord

In the Name of God: The Extremely and Everlastingly Loving and Caring

“Patriots” declared a “Global Rally for Humanity,” with plans to protest – possibly armed – at mosques and other Islamic institutions across the country. American Muslims braced for the worst, and interfaith partners rallied for religious freedom all across the country. Thanks be to God, the rallies fizzled all across the country.

All over our nation, people who stood in solidarity with the American Muslim community showed up in the dozens, far outnumbering whatever protesters who bothered to show up. It showed me – and the rest of the world – the true beauty of our country and our people. It showed me – and the rest of the world – that we are much better than the hatred of some misguided fellow Americans.

What’s more, in a widely reported story, a protester even had a change of heart about Islam after she was hugged by a Muslim against whom she was protesting:

A protester who recently came with anti-Muslim signs to protest at an Islamic center and mosque in Columbus, Ohio, underwent a change of heart.

The protester, who only identified herself as “Annie,” arrived at Noor Islamic Cultural Center this past Saturday to picket with signs showing Islamophobic imagery, such as the word “Islam” inside a red circle with a line through it.

[…]

A nearly 50-minute video captured Annie’s attempted protest, and for the the first 40 or so minutes of it, Annie can be expressing her anti-Muslim opinions and refusing attempts made by mosque members and counter-protesters to welcome her into Noor and have some breakfast.

“I told them to make my bacon extra crispy,” Annie says sarcastically at one point of the video. At another point, she says she’d “never step foot in a mosque” because “the mosque may blow up” if she comes in.

Though things get heated a few times throughout the first 40 minutes, Annie appears to start relaxing after de Boutinkhar [an American Muslim] approaches her with open arms and goes in for a hug.

De Boutinkhar added that Annie even began “tearing up.”

[…]

According to de Boutinkhar’s Facebook, Annie’s parting words were, “You were all really nice. I don’t approve of the violence or killings (neither do we), but I’ll read this book. I had no idea Muslims could be nice to me, even after I stood out there with those signs. Sorry.”

I knew that America was better than the hatred of her bigots. I knew that, given the chance to get to know us, Americans would see that Muslims are not the monsters we are made out to be. I knew that, given the chance, the world will see how beautiful America truly is.

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