A man from England is going viral after he stood outside his local mosque holding a sign saying he will “keep watch” while Muslim worshippers pray in the wake of a terror attack that targeted two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Friday that left at least 50 people dead.
Andrew Graystone can be seen in a photo standing guard outside the Medina Mosque in Manchester holding a sign saying “You are my friends. I will keep watch while you pray.”
Graystone told the BBC on Saturday that Muslims attending the mosque “beamed” after seeing his kind gesture.
— Zia Salik (@Zia_Salik) March 15, 2019
“There are two ways you can respond to an attack like this — you can respond with fear or you can respond with friendship,” he told the news outlet.
Graystone, who runs a Christian charity, told the international news agency that he chose to stand outside his local mosque because he “wanted to make sure that people know we can respond with friendship.”
“As people walked up, you could see in their eyes that they were looking at somebody standing outside their mosque, thinking ‘Oh no, is this some kind of protest or whatever?'” he said.
“And then when they saw the message saying ‘You are my friend,’ their faces broke and they beamed and smiled,” he continued.
Graystone told the outlet that he was surprised by the overwhelming amount of online support he received for the act of kindness.
“I hadn’t intended for anybody other than the people at Medina Mosque to know about this,” he told the BBC.
“But I guess there are little things that lots of people can do to just express friendship rather than fear with Muslim friends, and neighbors and colleagues — so I just took one little action,” he added.