A Muslim Orlando man explained why this is the 'greatest nation on earth.'

On June 12, 2016, the deadliest mass shooting in American history unfolded at an LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

Photo by Gregg Newton/AFP/Getty Images.

At least 50 people were killed with dozens more injured. The terrorist act — committed by a homophobic, religious extremist — sparked reactions from President Barack Obama and leaders from around the world.


Unfortunately, a knee-jerk response from some people was to condemn the violence with misinformed fear — to blame all Muslims for the ideology a very small group promotes.

It's a dangerous response to have — especially if you're a presidential hopeful with a platform — because implying all Muslims are capable of committing (or sympathizing with) such an atrocity only further divides our communities and justifies prejudice.

That's why one Florida man's viral Facebook post in the wake of the tragedy is all the more important.

Mahmoud ElAwadi, a Muslim who lives in Orlando, shared a photo of himself giving blood on Sunday. In the post — which within a day was shared more than 110,000 times — ElAwadi points out several truths every American should keep in mind while processing what happened.

Here is ElAwadi's post in full:

-Yes my name is Mahmoud a proud Muslim American. 

-Yes I donated blood even though I can't eat or drink anything cause I'm fasting in our holy month Ramadan just like hundreds of other Muslims who donated today here in Orlando. 

-Yes I'm angry for what happened last night and all the innocent lives we lost. 

-Yes I'm sad, frustrated and mad that a crazy guy [claiming] to be a Muslim did that shameful act. 

-Yes I witnessed the greatness of this country watching thousands of people standing in 92 degree sun waiting on their turn to donate blood even after they were told that the wait time is 5-7 hours. 

-Yes this is the greatest nation on earth watching people from different ... ages including kids volunteering to give water, juice, food, umbrellas, sun block. Also watching our old veterans coming to donate. And next to them Muslim women in hijab carrying food and water to donors standing in line. 

-Yes together we will stand against hate, terrorism, extremism and racism. 

-Yes our blood all [looks] the same so get out there and donate blood cause our fellow American citizens are injured and need our blood. 

-Yes our community in central Florida is heart broken but let's put our colors, religions, ethnicity, sexual orientation, political views all aside so we can UNITE against those who are trying to hurt us.

Here are three crucial reminders ElAwadi highlighted in his post.

1. This terrorist's actions do not reflect Islam in the slightest.

Like the vast majority of Muslims, ElAwadi is "sad, frustrated, and mad that a crazy guy [claiming] to be a Muslim did that shameful act."

Muslim leaders in the U.S. were quick to condemn the motives behind the ISIS-inspired massacre. Nihad Awad, national executive director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said these extremists "do not belong to this beautiful faith."

Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images.

2. Muslim Americans are just as devastated by this attack on our country as anyone else.

"I'm angry for what happened last night and all the innocent lives we lost," ElAwadi wrote. "Together we will stand against hate, terrorism, extremism and racism."

ElAwadi is not the exception. You don't have to look far to spot Muslims showing their support for the victims and rejecting the senseless violence. 

Photo by Daniel Munoz/Getty Images.

3. America is at its greatest when all of us — regardless of skin color, religion, or sexual orientation — rally together to help those in need.

"I witnessed the greatness of this country watching thousands of people standing in 92 degree sun waiting on their turn to donate blood even after they were told that the wait time is 5-7 hours," ElAwadi wrote. He noted that people of all ages — including veterans and women wearing hijabs — pitched in to do their part.

Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images.

As ElAwadi's post demonstrated so well, the more we stomp out hate and replace it with solidarity, the better off we'll all be.

"Our blood all [looks] the same," ElAwadi concluded. "Yes, our community in central Florida is heartbroken, but let's put our colors, religions, ethnicity, sexual orientation, political views all aside so we can unite against those who are trying to hurt us."

Seeing as love tends to conquer all, I'd say that's a pretty good plan. 

True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

Terence Power / TikTok

A video of a busker in Dublin, Ireland singing "You've Got a Friend in Me" to a young boy with autism is going viral because it's just so darn adorable. The video was filmed over a year ago by Terence Power, the co-host of the popular "Talking Bollox Podcast."

It was filmed before face masks were required, so you can see the boy's beautiful reaction to the song.

Power uploaded it to TikTok because he had just joined the platform and had no idea the number of lives it would touch. "The support on it is unbelievable. I posted it on my Instagram a while back and on Facebook and the support then was amazing," he told Dublin Live.

"But I recently made TikTok and said I'd share it on that and I'm so glad I did now!" he continued.

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True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

A teacher's message has gone viral after he let his student sleep in class — for the kindest reason.

Teachers spend time preparing lesson plans and trying to engage students in learning. The least a kid can do is stay awake in class, right?

But high school English teacher Monte Syrie sees things differently. In a Twitter thread, he explained why he didn't take it personally when his student Meg fell asleep — and why he didn't wake her up.

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via Ken Lund / Flickr

The dark mountains that overlook Provo, Utah were illuminated by a beautiful rainbow-colored "Y" on Thursday night just before 8 pm. The 380-foot-tall "Y" overlooks the campus of Brigham Young University, a private college owned by the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), commonly known as Mormons.

The display was planned by a group of around 40 LGBT students to mark the one-year anniversary of the university sending out a letter clarifying its stance on homosexual behavior.

"One change to the Honor Code language that has raised questions was the removal of a section on 'Homosexual Behavior.' The moral standards of the Church did not change with the recent release of the General Handbook or the updated Honor Code, " the school's statement read.

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