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Man Stands Outside Mosque to 'Keep Watch' For Muslims

Newsweek logo Newsweek 17/3/2019 Christina Zhao
a person holding a sign: A man from England, who stood outside his local mosque to "keep watch" while Muslims prayed following the terror attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, has gone viral on social media. © Twitter A man from England, who stood outside his local mosque to "keep watch" while Muslims prayed following the terror attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, has gone viral on social media.

A man from the United Kingdom who stood outside his local mosque to “keep watch” for Muslim worshippers as they prayed after a terror attack on two mosques in Christcurch, New Zealand, left 50 people dead and dozens others injured, has gone viral on social media.

In a photo, widely shared on Twitter, Andrew Graystone—who operates a Christian charity and led London’s 2012 multi-faith chaplaincy team—can be seen standing outside the Medina Mosque in Manchester, England, on Friday sporting a sign that reads: “You are my friends. I will keep watch while you pray.”

Graystone told BBC that Muslims walking into the mosque for prayer “beamed” and “smiled” when they say his gesture. "There are two ways you can respond to an attack like this—you can respond with fear or you can respond with friendship," he said, adding that he chose to stand outside the mosque as he “wanted to make sure that people know we can respond with friendship.”

   

"As people walked up, you could see in their eyes that they were looking at somebody standing outside their mosque, thinking 'Oh no, is this some kind of protest or whatever,'” Graystone continued. "And then when they saw the message saying 'You are my friend', their faces broke and they beamed and smiled."

After being widely praised on social media, including by Paralympian Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Graystone told the news outlet that all the attention took him by surprise. "I hadn't intended for anybody other than the people at Medina Mosque to know about this," he said, "but I guess there are little things that lots of people can do to just express friendship rather than fear with Muslim friends, and neighbours and colleagues—so I just took one little action."

Other similar acts of kindness at mosques in the Midlands and the North East of England has also gathered substantial attention online. On Friday, a man stood outside a Sunderland mosque during prayer time holding a sign that read: “This Christian stands against racism and violence towards all Muslims.”

 

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