From the attacks in Australia, France, Denmark and Belgium to the brutal killings by militants of the Islamic State and the racist remarks and hateful demands by far-right groups across the Western world, communities across the globe have seen calls for discord and strife in recent months.
But people around the world have answered those calls for division with remarkable expressions of harmony and solidarity. Protesters and activists from Europe to the Middle East stood up defiantly and launched powerful campaigns urging respect and understanding of one another.
Take a look at six campaigns that moved us.
‘HUMANITY IS ONE’
Days after a gunman opened fire near a synagogue in Denmark, more than a thousand Muslims in neighboring Norway formed a human shield around a synagogue in the Norwegian capital, Oslo, in a cry of support for the country’s Jewish community. “Humanity is one and we are here to demonstrate that,” Zeeshan Abdullah, one of the organizers, told the crowd Saturday, according to Reuters.
Responding to the powerful stance by the Muslim community, a different group of Norwegians announced it will undertake a similar protest, this time linking hands to protect a Norwegian mosque. “We want to stand shoulder to shoulder with our Muslim fellow citizens to show disgust towards increasing Muslim hate and xenophobia in society,” the organizers explained, according to a translation of the event’s Facebook page.
— Oda Leraan Skjetne (@oSkjetne) February 21, 2015
1300 Muslims link hands in a Ring of Peace around Jewish synagogue in Oslo. Best news from Europe all year. pic.twitter.com/CnsrbC3o1c
— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) February 21, 2015
As the Islamic State group sought to inspire terror with horrific killings and propaganda videos, satirists and cartoonists across the Arab world have shared their own powerful message. Skewering the extremists with “Daily Show”-style news programs and slapstick cartoons, these comedians are taking a stand by changing the narrative around the group.
“This is one way to reject extremism and make it so the people are not afraid,” Nabil Assaf, producer of Lebanon’s satirical “Ktir Salbe Show,” told the Associated Press.
The Iraqi government is also taking part in the mockery of Islamic State extremists, reports NPR, producing a musical comedy show whose title translates into “State of Myths.” The show seeks to highlight the hypocrisy at the heart of the group, and features bizarre gags…