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

'Yes my name is Mahmoud a proud Muslim American.'

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. 

More
Courtesy of Houseplant.

In America, one dumb mistake can hang over your head forever.

Nearly 30% of the American adult population — about 70 million people — have at least one criminal conviction that can prevent them from being treated equally when it comes to everything from job and housing opportunities to child custody.

Twenty million of these Americans have felony convictions that can destroy their chances of making a comfortable living and prevents them from voting out the lawmakers who imprisoned them.

Many of these convictions are drug-related and stem from the War on Drugs that began in the U.S. '80s. This war has unfairly targeted the minority community, especially African-Americans.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

Climate change is happening because the earth is warming at an accelerated rate, a significant portion of that acceleration is due to human activity, and not taking measures to mitigate it will have disastrous consequences for life as we know it.

In other words: Earth is heating up, it's kinda our fault, and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

This is the consensus of the vast majority of the world's scientists who study such things for a living. Case closed. End of story.

How do we know this to be true? Because pretty much every reputable scientific organization on the planet has examined and endorsed these conclusions. Thousands of climate studies have been done, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on those studies, showing that somewhere between 84 and 97 percent of active climate science experts support these conclusions. In fact, the majority of those studies put the consensus well above 90%.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature
via James Anderson

Two years ago, a tweet featuring the invoice for a fixed boiler went viral because the customer, a 91-year-old woman with leukemia, received the services for free.

"No charge for this lady under any circumstances," the invoice read. "We will be available 24 hours to help her and keep her as comfortable as possible."

The repair was done by James Anderson, 52, a father-of-five from Burnley, England. "James is an absolute star, it was overwhelming to see that it cost nothing," the woman's daughter told CNN.

Keep Reading Show less
Heroes

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.

Keep Reading Show less
popular