Justin Normand, a 53-year-old man who stood for days outside the Islamic Center of Irving, in Texas, holding a sign reading “YOU BELONG STAY STRONG. BE BLESSED. WE ARE AMERICA” explained his motivation in a recent Facebook post.
Normand wrote that the act was a response to a number of “right-wing drivers driving down Esters Road.”
“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.”
The Texas man refers to John 13:14-15, as reported by Growing Christians Ministries.
“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.”
“If ever there was a true Christian,” atheist and liberal/progressive host of The Young Turks, Cenk Uygur, said after reading Normand’s words in a recent video.
Despite his fortitude, Justin Normand professed a belief that he possesses an inability to turn “haters” around, and pledged to continue, stating that his goal was “not about them.”
Uygur was born in Turkey to a Muslim family, has described himself as a “fervent agnostic,” and been critical of some aspects of organized religion, while at other times acknowledging positives. In the latest video, the TYT host balanced talk of the “most brutal” Christianity with “great stuff” that exists within it.
Cenk Uygur wrote about arguing “vehemently against religion,” with the Huffington Post in 2011.
The host held up Justin Normand’s actions as a true example of choosing to take “wonderful” aspects from The Bible and acting as “his brother’s keeper,” referring to Genesis 4:9, as reported by Bible Hub.
“‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ Cain asked the Lord.”
Uygur went on noting the example Justin Normand was setting “as an American” stating that U.S. citizens should “stand together.” The host said that no American was more so than Mr. Normand.
Ana Kasparian with TYT held up Normand’s use of the word “empathy” in his Facebook post as something that is missing from a vast swath of the American public; an “inability to put ourselves in others people’s shoes.”
“There’s good among us,” Kasparian said.
Considering the history of the Islamic Center of Irving, Aida Rodriguez with TYT described Justin Normand’s actions as “brave.”
In 2001, following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Islamic Center of Irving received $3,000 worth of damage in the form of shot-out windows, as reported by the Dallas Business Journal.
Uygur described “right-wingers” terrorizing the mosque over recent years, appearing at the place of worship “with guns.”
Rodriguez recalled growing up in a Christian family and feeling pushed away from the religion by “judgement and condemnation” and professed a belief that Normand’s actions represent the way Christians are “supposed to be.”
“Lead people to the light by being an example,” Rodriguez stated.
Brett Erlich with TYT encouraged viewers to “go out and do something like this” over the weekend.
In January, the Inquisitr reported on a December-2015 act of defiance on the part of Kenyan Muslim Salah Farah, who took a bullet from suspected members of al-Shabab after refusing to cooperate with the terrorists after they hijacked a bus carrying both Christian and Muslim passengers near Mandera.
He had been told by the group that as long he didn’t interfere, he wouldn’t be harmed. Farah’s response to the militants was to kill all of the passengers “or leave us alone.”
“We are all brothers,” Salah Farah was quoted before he succumbed to his wounds.
At least two other people were killed before the suspected al-Shabab members fled, fearing reprisals from witnesses.
[Featured Image by Mario Tama/Getty Images]