Yesterday, I went (totally) out of my comfort zone and helped hand-out free holiday roses to complete strangers walking through downtown Disney, with other Muslim friends.
I had been afraid to publicly identify myself as Muslim, and to talk to strangers, but perhaps the state of the U.S. today has compelled me to “come-out,” so to speak.
The idea was to help fight the hate that is being directed at “people like us” with the message of love and tolerance that my friends and I were all raised with. Each rose had a message “Happy Holidays from Your American Muslims neighbors.”
One non-Muslim man took a rose, left, and came back. “Would you like another?” I asked.
“No, I already have one,” he responded. “But I just read your message and wanted to come back to say that with all the hate that is around, I really admire that you all are responding with love. It really touches me to see this.”
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And then he hugged me, and we both shed a tear (well for me, many tears). It was a cathartic moment – even I haven’t realized how emotionally impacted I have been by what I’ve seen and heard. That man made a difference to me and gave me back some of the hope I’ve lost seeing the state of the world as it is today.