A Muslim family got a pleasant Christmas surprise at a Georgia Olive Garden restaurant, thanks to a generous stranger who anonymously paid the $100-plus bill, US Uncut is reporting.
Eslam S. Mohammed, who, according to his Facebook profile, is a graduate research assistant at Augusta University and is originally from Egypt, went to an Olive Garden in Augusta, Georgia, on Christmas Eve with some friends and family members.
According to IJ Review, Eslam and his friends were “apprehensive” about what kind of treatment they could expect at a restaurant in the deep South. As Eslam notes, in a Facebook post which has since gone viral, it was obvious to the diners that night that Eslam and his party were Muslims.
“We were a group of 7 adults and 5 children. Everyone in the restaurant was knowing that we were Arabs Muslims on the table coz of the language and the ladies were having scarves over their head ( Hijab ).”
However, rather than being treated with hostility (or, at a minimum, not being noticed at all), Eslam says that when the bill came, he found that a stranger had paid for the entire party’s meal, at a cost of over $138. Whoever paid the bill also wrote the words “Paid. Merry Christmas. Beautiful Family.”
Eslam wrote that he was particularly touched by the kind stranger’s gesture, considering the political climate in this country of late.
“Yes, someone paid for us and wrote those wonderful words on the receipt. I can’t express how this act touched our hearts. Among all the bad things happening to Muslims and the hate speech that the presidential candidate had made lately, there is still light in the dark, there is still hope within the frustration. All what i can say to who did that, Merry Christmas to you too and God bless such a beautiful heart you have.”
Although Eslam didn’t mention any names, it’s almost certain he’s talking about presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has suggested that the U.S. bar Muslims from entering the country until further security measures can be put into place.
Since the November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris, during which Islamist terrorists killed 130 people and injured over 300, anti-Islam sentiment in the United States has been at levels not seen since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, according to The Guardian. And that sentiment has led to hate crimes.
In Coachella Valley, California, for example, a 23-year-old man has been charged with setting fire to a local mosque, damaging the building’s foyer. Similarly, in Houston, the Savoy Mosque suffered significant damage after an “incendiary device” was used to set the building on fire, according to NBC News. Other mosques have been vandalized with torn pages of the Koran smeared in human feces (Pflugerville, Texas); with a severed pig’s head (Philadelphia); or a bullet-ridden Koran (Anaheim).
In fact, anti-Muslim hate crimes haven’t just targeted Muslim places of worship: according to The L.A. Times, several Muslims have been harassed or even attacked simply for being Muslim, including New York shopkeeper Sarkar Haq, who was viicously beaten.
Not everyone is impressed by Eslam’s story of generosity. One Twitter user took exception to the Muslim man’s suggestion that hate crimes have been taking place against Muslims.
Muslim man’s bill paid for xmas…doesn’t thank Christian generosity, cites fictional hate crimes & bashes Trump https://t.co/M3jWyxkatT
— Defend Glenn (@DefendGlenn) December 28, 2015
As of this writing, Eslam’s photo and his story of having his Olive Garden meal paid for him has been shared over 22,000 times on Facebook.
[Image via Facebook]