One small sign; one big message.
A Texas man was photographed holding a sign on the side of a road outside the Islamic Center of Irving, near Dallas, reading: “You Belong. Stay Strong. Be Blessed. We Are One America.”
A passerby snapped a photo of the man, dressed in a cowboy hat and checkered shirt, and shared it on Twitter Saturday, where it quickly went viral.
A representative for the center told The Washington Post that the man had been standing outside the mosque with his sign for days. He wanted to show support for the local Muslim community after Donald Trump was elected president this month following a campaign dominated by anti-Muslim pledges.
On Monday, the man identified himself as 53-year-old Justin Normand. He said the gesture was about “binding up the wounded.”
It wasn’t about demonstrating my outrage to right-wing drivers driving down Esters Road in front of the mosque. I can never, and will never, change any of the haters. It’s not about them. Not this time, and not here. This was about binding up the wounded. About showing compassion and empathy for the hurting and fearful among us. Or, in some Christian traditions, this was about washing my brother’s feet. This was about my religion, not theirs. And, it was about what I think I must do as an American when our way of life is threatened. Targeting people for their religion not only threatens our way of life, it is the polar opposite of our way of life.
Mic noted that the mosque where Normand stood was the same site where armed anti-Islam protesters gathered last November following the attacks in Paris.