#PrayForTheWorld Hashtag: Brussels Terror Attacks Prompt Unity On Social Media

Social media has exploded with an outpouring of love and support in the form of the hashtag #PrayForTheWorld following today’s terror attacks in Brussels, Belgium. Dual explosions rang out in Brussels early this morning, killing at least 20 at the Maelbeek metro station and wounding at least 130 more, as well as taking 10 lives and wounding 100 at Brussels’ international airport, reports CNN.

Brussels has been on edge for months, since the investigation into the Paris terror attacks in November 2015 uncovered that many of the terrorists responsible were centered in Brussels. According to CNN, ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying it’s “fighters” were the ones who terrorized the city. The attacks came just days following the arrest of Salah Abdeslam, formerly Europe’s most wanted man; the arrest also took place in Brussels.

“We were fearing terrorist attacks. And that has now happened.”

Despite the deadly efforts of ISIS to terrorize and stoke fear in the hearts of the citizens of the West, the world has taken to Twitter in defiance and solidarity to share support and good wishes for those impacted by the Brussels terror attack. The hashtag #PrayForTheWorld sprung up on the social media site soon after the news of the deadly attacks broke, and it has now spawned more than 125,000 retweets as people share their best wishes and best vibes to the victims of the attacks, their loved ones, and the rest of the world at large.

Memorial in Brussels [Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images]The New York Times reports that the most popular and widely-shared hashtag #PrayForTheWorld post was a simple cartoon image. The cartoon featured a drawing of a crying French flag holding and comforting a crying Belgian flag, along with the simple words “13 novembre…22 mars…”

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The artist behind the popular post is French cartoonist Plantu, who works for the newspaper Le Monde. The reference behind the hashtag #PrayForTheWorld image is simple and profound, referencing last November’s Paris terror attacks and their connection to today’s attacks in Brussels.

Another popular #PrayForTheWorld photo circulating is a manipulated image of the Manneken Pis (a famous bronze statue of a small boy “whizzing,” located near the Brussels town hall); in the #PrayForTheWorld version, the little guy is peeing on a rifle and a bomb.

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The message? That the terrorists can’t destroy the humor and spirit of Belgium with their guns and explosions.

Other images that have been making the rounds in association with the #PrayForTheWorld hashtag include Belgian Fries flipping off anyone who cared to look. A watercolor of the Belgian flag also circulated widely in response to the #PrayForTheWorld trend.

#PrayForTheWorld isn’t the only hashtag that began to trend in response to the Brussels terror attacks. In an homage to the #JeSuisCharlie hashtag that trended following the Charlie Hebdo attacks in France in 2015, the hashtag #JeSuisBruxellesan is also circulating around Twitter.

Charlie Hebdo Prints Again [Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images]While many have turned to love and their faith in response to the Brussels terror attacks, other have responded to the situation with calls for justice while also using the popularity of #PrayForTheWorld to get some traction and spread the word.

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Others used the momentum of the #PrayForTheWorld trend to denounce Islamophobia.

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The Twitter account of the city of Paris changed its profile picture to the Belgian flag to show solidarity with the people of Brussels and the rest of Belgium; the Eiffel Tower was also illuminated in the colors of the Belgian flag. The red, yellow, and black tower is lighting up the Paris sky in honor of the victims of the Brussels terror attacks.

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In the wake of another terror attack, the Western world is once again proving that spirit of what makes us who and what we are can’t be destroyed with guns and bombs and violence. As the hashtag #PrayForTheWorld continues to trend in response to the Brussels terror attacks, the people of Belgium are reminded that the world stands together in solidarity with those impacted.

[Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images]