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Allies took a stand for praying Muslim students at the University of Michigan.

Non-Muslim students formed a protective circle.

Just days after the election, a Muslim student at the University of Michigan  was approached by a stranger who ordered her to remove her hijab under threat that he would set her on fire.

According to Nusayba Tabbah, the internal vice president of the school's Muslim Students' Association, this was not an isolated event, but rather, an acceleration of an anti-Muslim climate on campus.

In response, the school's Muslim students decided to reclaim their space on campus — a reminder that they have the same right to be there as any other student.

MSA program committee member Rami Ebrahim suggested the group gather to pray one of their five daily prayers, ishaa, in public. In doing so, the community would be making a powerful statement, letting those who seek to antagonize them know that they will not be bullied into hiding who they are and what they believe.


The Muslim Student Association held a group Ishaa prayer at University of Michigan, with two hundred non-Muslims standing guard in a circle around them

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MSA National on Monday, November 14, 2016

A few non-Muslim friends were asked to circle around the group during the prayer as a show of solidarity. What they got was so much more.

"I was surprised and overwhelmed by the number of people there — both Muslim and non-Muslim," Tabbah wrote in an email. The crowd was made up of an estimated 300 people.

Mohammed Ishtiaq, University of Michigan’s Muslim chaplain, leads prayer. Photo by Benji Bear.

"It reminded me that I have a lot to be grateful for," she continued. "We are part of an amazing community that has repeatedly spoken out about the growing hostility towards Muslims and other minorities."

Photo by Benji Bear.

Solidarity and compassion for one another is crucial. Nobody should be made to live in fear because of their religious beliefs or skin color.

"We must not stand silent while facing expressions of bigotry, discrimination or hate that have become part of our national political discourse,” wrote school president Mark Schlissel in an email to students.

Photo by Benji Bear.

Right now, more than any other time in recent history, we must stand on the side of acceptance; we must stand against bigotry. The Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that tracks hate crimes and hate groups, has found the uptick in hate crimes to be greater in the current post-election landscape than even in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Since Election Day, the group has logged more than 400 events of harassment and intimidation.

Now is the time to be an ally to Muslims and other minorities, and that means taking action.

For one, it's important to educate yourselves and to help educate others. Tabbah recommends getting to know your Muslim neighbors, noting that many people who fear or hate Muslims simply don't know any.

Photo by Benji Bear.

Just as important: We can't let this type of bigotry and harassment become the accepted norm.

"I think it's important to speak out when we hear or see something wrong," Tabbah adds.

"We can't let ourselves become desensitized to hateful rhetoric because that just normalizes it."

Photo by Benji Bear.

We don't have to give in to a culture of fear. We can fight back. We can be a force for good in this world.

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Julia Roberts and Emma Roberts

Actress Julia Roberts was late to the game when it came to joining social media, so she was blown away when she finally saw first-hand how toxic it could be. She started an Instagram account in June of 2018 and, shortly after, was the target of trolls mocking her appearance in a post by her niece.

Roberts was upset about the negative comments people made about her looks and then was gutted when she considered social media's effect on young women. In a 2018 interview with Oprah Winfrey for Harper’s Bazaar, Julia recounted the story.

“Although something did happen recently on my niece Emma’s Instagram that I think taught me a lot about what it’s like being a young person in today’s society. One weekend morning Emma slept over, and we got up and were having tea and playing cards and having this beautiful morning, and then a couple of days later, she posted a picture of us,” Roberts recalled.



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© Jason Moore/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2023 and © Tzahi Finkelstein /Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2023

The 2023 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.

The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards, known for being one of the most entertaining photography contests, has just wrapped up, and this year’s top prize goes to Jason Moore for his hilarious and brilliantly captured photo of a kangaroo, cheekily named “Air Guitar Roo.” Not only did this fantastic shot win the overall competition, but it also rocked the Creatures of the Land category, too.

Jason's photo stood out among a whopping 5,300 entries submitted by 1,842 photographers from 85 countries. Moore’s photo of the female western grey kangaroo was taken in the outer suburbs of Perth, Australia when Jason visited a field of wildflowers to snap some pics of the many adult kangaroos and joeys playing there.

“The shoot turned out to be a great session, and I am quite fond of several images that I captured,” Moore said in a statement. “Not many people know that kangaroos are normally fairly docile and even a bit boring most of the time if I’m honest. However, when I saw this roo striking the air guitar pose, it immediately brought a smile to my face, and I knew that I had captured something really special."

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Joy

'Nicest judge in the world' reveals the $300 case that pushed him to rule with compassion

Judge Frank Caprio shares how his father's disappointment in his first judgment "crumbled" him.

StephanieRPereira/Wikimedia Commons

Judge Caprio has become known for his compassion in the courtroom.

Frank Caprio has spent 38 years as a judge, making a name for himself as the chief judge of the municipal court of Providence, Rhode Island and gaining fame as the "nicest judge in the world" for his rulings on the reality show "Caught in Providence."

Caprio's empathy and compassion has shone through in his judgments, as he talked to defendants like real people, getting to know their personal stories and issuing judgments that helped the person get on their feet rather than punishing them for being poor or sick or taking care of their family.

In a video on Instagram, Caprio shared that his compassionate approach stemmed from a case brought before him on his very first day on the bench. When asked if there was a certain case from his years as a judge that he still thinks about today, Caprio shared that there was one case that made him feel "crumbled," and which he still gets upset just thinking about.

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