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You've probably noticed that anti-Muslim sentiments have become more common and more blatant recently.

Following the terrorist attacks in Paris by ISIS (or, if you like, Daesh) extremists and the mass shooting in San Bernardino by two people who claimed to be Muslim, a lot of Americans are allowing their thinking to be replaced by fear. Some people are even reacting violently.

Others are working hard to find justification for their beliefs — even if they're not acting out.

One of the things I've noticed is that in support of anti-Muslim comments, many people keep offering up quotes from the Quran.


Image by Metropolico.org/flickr.

They do that as justification for their belief that Islam is founded on violence and that the religion teaches its followers to act violently — and as such, we should be worried that any Muslim could be a violent terrorist. I've also seen several people refer to the marriage of very young girls as being in the Quran — as justification that Islam is just incompatible with Western ways of life.

I mean ... sigh.

I think most rational people know better. But for those who don't, some folks carried out a little experiment to make a point.

They took a Bible and wrapped it in a different cover, making it appear to be a Quran.

All following GIFs and images by Dit Is Normaal, a group based in the Netherlands. The video is in Dutch and subtitled in English.

Then they found some passages that aren't exactly compatible with the way most Westerners live these days.

Passages like:

"A woman should live in quietness and full submission."

"If you reject my commands and abhor my laws, you will eat the flesh of your own sons. And your own daughters."

"I don't allow for a woman to teach. You will have to cut off her hand. Do not forgive her."

"If two men sleep with each other, they will both have to be killed."

When the interviewers asked passersby what they thought of those passages, they were honest.

Believing they were being read passages from the Quran, people reacted with surprise, disgust, and negativity.

The interviewers also asked how the Quran compared to the Bible.

That's when the interviewers let the folks in on what we knew all along: These aren't teachings of the Quran.

They're Bible verses.

Everyone was visibly surprised.

The lesson, of course, is that we need to step back and look at what we're doing here.

This guy gets it:

The best part of this video is that the folks were willing to acknowledge their biases.

Nobody got defensive or angry. They realized what happened.

Information comes at us from many directions and is often framed in a way that influences our thinking. This woman sums things right up:

And so does this man. We need to step back and think it through.

Religions adapt and change with the times.

The Quran, like the Bible, is very old. Muslims don't follow every last word verbatim, just as Christians don't follow every last word in the Bible verbatim. That's ridiculous.

We need to stop applying a double standard.

If we're going to assume that radicals who commit terrorism in the name of Islam are representative of Muslims, we must do the same with radicals who commit terrorism and proclaim to be Christians.

I think we all know better — the Planned Parenthood shooter doesn't represent the great majority of Christians, nor do the San Bernardino shooters represent the great majority of Muslims.

Let's keeps our fears in check and remember that Muslims are peaceful people. They want to raise their families and enjoy their lives and have the same opportunities as anyone else. It's pretty simple.

You can watch the full video here. It's worth it to see how the biases that people probably don't even realize they have influence their thoughts:

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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via Pixabay

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All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

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We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

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