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This Texas Man Is Sending A Powerful Message To The Islamic Community

As has been widely reported, a tragic outcome of last month’s presidential election has been the uptick in reported hate crimes around the country. Within the last week, someone has mailed anonymous letters to several mosques around the country praising President-elect Donald Trump and threatening ethnic cleansing (“He’s going to do with you Muslims what Hitler did to the Jews,” the letter states).

Given all this hatred, people around the country have been celebrating this one small gesture that a Texas man made to help those in his community feel safe and welcome.

Texan Justin Normand recently set up shop outside a mosque near Dallas holding a sign that read: “You Belong. Stay Strong. Be blessed. We are one America.” Twitter user Charles Finch shared a picture of Normand in action, and Finch’s Nov. 26 post has since been retweeted nearly 65,000 times and liked more than 165,000 times.

Normand, 53, who has held his sign outside the mosque for several days, took to Facebook to explain his motivation.

“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,” he wrote. “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.”

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Normand also shared advice for others eager to take part in “binding up the wounded.”

“Find a group marginalized by the haters in this current era we find ourselves in,” he wrote. “Then, find a way to express your acceptance to that group in a physically present way, as opposed to a digital one. I can assure you, from their outpouring of smiles, hugs, tears, hospitality, messages extending God’s love, and a bouquet of flowers, it will mean a lot.”

Normand joins millions of other Americans who are standing up to discrimination in the aftermath of the election, whether by wearing a safety pin or donating to organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which has seen a significant rise in donations since Nov. 8.

[h/t: Huffington Post]