“There is no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” - Scott Adams
What would you do if an angry mob threatened to disrupt the peace at your place of worship?
If you’re Cynthia DeBoutinkhar, a Muslim woman who attends the Noor Islamic Cultural Center in Ohio, you give them a hug and offer them a free breakfast.
After a Facebook campaign tried to organize a picketing at dozens of mosques around the U.S. on October 10th, the attendees of the mosque were prepared for anything to erupt.
They nervously awaited the protest and were surprised when only one individual arrived with signs denigrating Islam. Many tried to welcome the sole protestor and offer her coffee and bagels inside the mosque, but she repeatedly refused and continued spewing confusions at the place of worship.
That was, until DeBoutinkhar bravely went up to the woman, whose name is Annie, and asked if she could embrace her in a hug. Reluctantly, she said “yes.” That one simple act disabled Annie’s resistance, and she agreed to walk into the building that housed a culture she was sure housed ‘evil’.
Cynthia later wrote on Facebook: “I felt her body go from tense to soft and I asked her to please come inside with me.”
DeBoutinkhar promised Annie she’d stay by her side inside the temple to provide comfort and a guarantee of safety. That offer was quickly deemed unnecessary, as the moment the two walked into the building, they were greeted with a grand applause.
Amazingly, Annie agreed to accompany the group on a complete tour of the mosque. Cynthia shared that she also led Annie to the ladies room to watch her take off her hijab, “so she could see that I’m just a normal person under my scarf.”
In an interview with Good News Network, Cynthia relayed that she’d been inundated with media requests for interviews about the incident.
“It’s been an overwhelming response. I think it struck a nerve with people. I think Muslims see it as finally some good press–and non-Muslims seem to like it because it shows the religion in a good light.”
Annie confided in DeBoutinkhar that the source of her beliefs regarding Islam came from FOX News and a friend who visited Turkey.
During the tour, Annie was able to look into classrooms filled with children and catch a glimpse of the afternoon prayers. She even began to ask her own questions that the president of the mosque answered enthusiastically. He also presented Annie with an English Quran as a gift.
Despite peoples’ difference, there is always an opportunity for peace to be realized.
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