The month of December this year has been warmer than other Decembers. While environmentalists are concerned about the soft weather, there is also another change in seasons going on. Various multicultural – and religious acts warmed up our heart, leaving the cold speechless and showing us that spring is indeed not far away this year. We are feeling it, and we are loving it. Individuals who are building bridges by teaching us about love, like Rich Rosendahl, but also communities shaking each other’s hands. Because we, the people, want peace. 2015 is slowly leaving us, so this is the perfect moment to share a few lovely moments.
1. Kenyan Muslims protecting Christians from terrorist group Al-Shabab
Just outside the Kenyan city of El Wak, a group of Somali terrorists stopped a bus full of travellers and tried to separate the travellers based on their region. That way, the heavily armed gunmen could kill the Christians abroad easily.
But the Muslim passengers weren’t going to allow such horrific acts to happen. Without firing one single bullet, they managed to protect the Christians from them, by remaining one group and rejecting the separation.
“The militants threatened to shoot us, but we still refused and protected our brothers and sisters. Finally they gave up and left but warned that they would be back.” Mahmoud Abdi, a Muslim passenger, said. “We even gave some non-Muslims our religious attire to wear in the bus so that they would not be identified easily. We stuck together tightly”.
Some Muslim passengers also gave their head scarves to non-Muslims, so that the gunmen couldn’t identify them being of another faith.
#ManderaHeroes I value our Muslim brothers. This is how to defeat the evil. Real Kenyan spirit. God loves Kenya .
— GEORGE WACHIURI (@georgeoptiven) 21 december 2015
2. French Muslims protecting church during Christmas Mass
To feel comfortable, one must be sure that they’re safe and protected. And that’s exactly what Muslim men in Northern France did during the Midnight Mass. While Christians were praying and enjoying their important holiday, Muslim men stood in front of the church to protect their fellow humans.
“We want to say that we are all together. We are brothers. We are in the same boat. If the boat sinks, we all sink.” Hicham El Jazaoui, Secretary of the UMC and organizer of the event, said “If mentally ill people want to kill us, they will have to kill us all together.”
3. Copenhagen’s citizens forming a ring, hand in hand, around a mosque against islamophobia
1500 citizens. Standing hand in hand. In front of a mosque against hate. Doesn’t this combination just yell “PEACE!”? ‘The ring of peace’, which consisted of people of all age, ethnicities and religions, was a response to the arson against ‘Islamisk Trossamfund’, The Islamic Faith Society, in Copenhagen.
Various banners were used, such as “Racism-free city”, but also the mosque was being covered with signs that say: ‘The Islamic Faith Society deserves love and flowers’ and ‘hate must be shunned’.
4. Young British Muslim giving presents to the homeless during Christmas
Nubaid, a young British Muslim, distributed presents to the homeless during Christmas. Even though he doesn’t celebrate the holiday himself, he can proudly call himself a real-life Santa. Nubaid had one goal: to put smiles on people’s faces and give love to people who couldn’t celebrate Christmas with their loved ones.
5. Muslim writes Hebrew letter in German community’s new Torah
For the first time in Germany (and probably the whole world) a Muslim, Dr. Bilal El-Zayat, got the honour to write one of the Hebrew letters in the second (written) Torah scroll after the Holocaust.
“In a time in which the firebrands are gaining, in which the firebrands are getting loud and are very present, it’s important to find balanced statements and show what connects us all.” El-Zayet says.
While several Islamophobic reactions took place after the Paris attack, the Jewish community sent a very important letter of peace into the world. Ignoring several negative reactions from Jews not trusting Muslims and vice versa, Bunk, vice president of the Jewish Community Marburg, closed the discussions with strong words: “We pride ourselves on not closing doors”.
6. Christian and Jewish leaders rally against Islamophobia at Dearborn Heights Mosque
While Donald Trump was stealing the headlines with his Islamophobic outbursts, some leaders couldn’t accept how Muslims were being targeted by a presidential candidate.
“It is unconstitutional, and un-American, to ban an entire religious group from America, the land of the free and home of the brave, just because they are Muslim,” said Baptist pastor Lawrence Glass.
A dozen of Christian and Jewish leaders came together in a mosque in Dearborn Heights to show solidarity for Muslims.
7. Mosque in Birmingham distributing free meals for Christmas
What tastes better than a good, hot chicken soup on a lonely Christmas Eve? The Central Mosque of Birmingham distributes free meals for the homeless and needy from the 24th of December until the first of January. As many of the charity centres close their doors during Christmas, this mosque opens its.
8. Jews and Muslims praying side by side in LA
If spirituality does not cause more solidarity and humanity, there’s something wrong with one’s sincerity. In Los Angeles, Jews and Muslims prayed side by side and broke negative stereotypes.
Despite the wars and terrorist attacks all over the world, the fire of love didn’t get extinguished. And while spring’s butterflies will only arrive after a few months, we feel them in our hearts every time such beautiful acts occur. Proving that we, humans, are one. Not meant to be separated or to hate each other.