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Free hugs offered by Muslim man after Manchester terror attack

Free hugs offered by Muslim man after Manchester terror attack

Categories: Latest News

Tuesday May 30 2017

In the wake of last Monday’s terror attack, Muslim video blogger, Baktash Noori, seized on small acts of kindness to highlight the unity and resolve of all Mancunians – by offering free hugs.

In an attempt to demonstrate that he and thousands of other Muslims are reeling from the atrocity that occurred at Manchester Arena, Noori put on a blindfold and headed out into the city centre to hug as many people as he could.

Standing next to a sign that reads “I’m Muslim and I trust you. Do you trust me enough for a hug?” Noori has spent the last few days standing alone on Market Street, wearing a blindfold, arms open, and waiting for hugs from passers-by.

Noori filmed the experience of waiting to see if anyone would take up his offer.

Noori told the Manchester Evening News that “[t]he first 30 seconds were nerve racking, but once I got that first hug with a lovely comment from that gentleman in my video, it made me feel a whole lot better.

”With every hug, the comments I received were amazing, some were getting all teary and it’s not hard to tell by a person’s hug and tone of voice how much better their and my day became because of this.

“I did not expect so many people to come and hug me, let alone give me such positive comments, but it was the best thing I’ve ever done.”

Noori, who posts videos on Youtube under the name Life of Bako, said that he hoped that his film would show how simple acts of contact can make a difference – and unite the city’s communities.

The film that Noori took and posted on his channel shows dozens of random people approaching him to show their support.

It has been viewed more than 33,000 times.

In the 14-minute video, after standing with his arms out and several people walking past, one man backtracked and threw himself into Mr Noori’s arms.

“Good man,” he told Mr Noori. “You’re not alone, kid, and don’t think you’re outside.”

Another man told him, “We’re all the same whatever we are.”

One woman spotted his sign and ran over to him, calling out, “Of course I trust you.”

Noori wrote: “Making this video has been a great experience, the warmth and love I felt from each hug was truly wonderful.”

By the end of the day, the video showed more than a dozen people waiting for a hug, with the queue stretching down the street.

Noori added: “Being a Muslim living in Manchester, there is always going to be a couple of people that simply struggle to grasp and understand ‘religion’.

“Muslims typically get represented by some as terrorists.

“Now usually when I see comments like this on social media when a tragic event happens I try and ignore it regardless of how much it gets to me, but after the incident that occurred in Manchester recently, it affected me a lot, so much hate crime and hate comments being shown all across the web and news it just hurts to see it all.”

After the Manchester attack, Muslim community groups raised funds, Muslim taxi drivers gave concert-goers free lifts home after the explosion and Muslim surgeons and nurses worked overtime to save the victims.

After the attack there was a spike in hate crimes, including a suspected arson attack against a mosque in Oldham.

The emotional video was posted to combat this anti-Muslim prejudice.


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