If I asked you to close your eyes, imagine a “typical terrorist”, and then describe the first image in your mind…I wonder what you would say?
You might say that you pictured a young man. You might say that he was brown and bearded. Perhaps part of his face was obscured with a scarf.
These characteristics describe Mustafa Mawla, but he is anything but a terrorist.
Mustafa Mawla stood on Toronto’s busiest street—brown, bearded, with fabric obscuring part of his face. In fact, he was utterly vulnerable: blindfolded, with his arms outstretched. Two signs were propped up at his feet. They read:
“I am a Muslim. I am labelled as a terrorist.”
“I trust you. Do you trust me? Give me a hug.”
It was a social experiment. The intention was to break down barriers, but going into it, there were no guarantees.
We’re often asked what it looks like to love across enemy lines in our own contexts.
We think it looks a lot like Mustafa Mawla.