These photos of Muslims praying in a Mormon church are the right response to hate.

Small gestures can mean a lot sometimes.

Photo by Flazingo Photos/Flickr.

Over the weekend, a Mormon congregation in Brisbane, Australia, demonstrated just how important those small gestures can be.

Photo by Winterforce Media/Wikimedia Commons.


Since the violent attacks in Paris, Islamophobia has been having a little bit of a moment. In the U.K., attacks against Muslims have spiked over 300%, according to some estimates. In the United States, political leaders have called for everything from putting Muslim Americans on a watch list to outright banning Muslim men and women from entering the country at all.
The LDS church in Brisbane wanted to show they weren't here for that.

They invited a group of Muslim community members to tour their church. And when it came time for the visitors' evening prayers, they set aside a room for them to pray.

According to KUTV's Daryl Lindsey, the group was incredibly moved by the show of respect. One member, Ali Kadri, posted about the experience on Facebook, and as of publication, the post has been shared over 9,000 times.

The images are inspiring and show how powerful it can be when members of different religions stand together against fear and intolerance.

According to the local news report, the church hoped to use the event to send a message. And it succeeded.

"KUTV spoke with Sue Owen, Queensland director of public affairs for the LDS church, who said inviting inter-faith groups to their event was a wonderful way to connect with members of other religions. 'We really think that by joining together we will find peace,' Owen said. 'We can promote peace by finding out what we have in common, rather than what sets us apart.'"

While it's flown a bit under the radar, the LDS Church was swift to condemn Donald Trump's hateful comments and has taken an admirable stand against Islamophobia.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

In response to Trump's comments, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints posted Joseph Smith's impassioned, 160-year-old rallying cry in support of religious pluralism.
"If it has been demonstrated that I have been willing to die for a 'Mormon,'" Smith said in 1843, "I am bold to declare before Heaven that I am just as ready to die in defending the rights of a Presbyterian, a Baptist, or a good man of any denomination."
Prominent church members from Trump's own party have also called out the presidential candidate. Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, who is Mormon, called the comments un-American, immoral, and irresponsible, according to a report in the Salt Lake City Tribune.

The Brisbane LDS Church deserves a ton of credit for going a step further to show that while standing up to bigotry is great, making people feel included is even better.

Look. We've all got our things. I'm a meat eater, but if I know a bunch of vegetarians are coming over, I'll probably make a frittata instead of a chicken scallopini. My family celebrates both Christmas and Hanukkah, so, while I don't mind when people wish me "Merry Christmas," when people say "Happy Holidays," I appreciate it.
It's a way of saying, "Your thing might not be my thing, but it's your thing, and I dig the fact that you have a thing."

Chicken scallopini. Mmmm. Photo by Christina Chin-Parker/Flickr.

The best part about it? You don't always have to agree with the Mormon church, or the Islam preached at a particular mosque, or the strict interpretation of any faith for that matter — even your own.
All you have to agree with is the idea that everyone deserves respect.
That's what the Brisbane Mormons did here. And that's why they deserve a round of applause.
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Truth

Don't test on animals. That's something we can all agree on, right? No one likes to think of defenseless cats, dogs, hamsters, and birds being exposed to a bunch of things that could make them sick (and the animals aren't happy about it, either). It's no wonder so many people and organizations have fought to stop it. But did you ever think that maybe brands are testing products on us too, they're just not telling us they're doing it?

I know, I know, it sounds like a conspiracy theory, but that's exactly what e-cigarette brands like JUUL (which corners the e-cigarette market) are doing in this country right now, and young people are on the frontlines of the fallout. Most people assume that the government would have looked at devices that allow people to inhale unknown chemicals into their lungs BEFORE they hit the market. You would think that someone in the government would have determined that they are safe. But nope, that hasn't happened. And vape companies are fighting to delay the government's ability to evaluate these products.

So no one really knows the long-term health effects of e-cigarette use, not even JUUL's CEO, nor are they informing the public about the potential risks. On top of that, according to the FDA, there's been a 78% increase in e-cigarette usage among high school and middle school-aged children in just the last two years, prompting the U.S. Surgeon General to officially recognize the trend as an epidemic and urge action against it.

These facts have elicited others to take action, as well.

Truth Initiative, the nonprofit best known for dropping the real facts about smoking and vaping since 2000 through its truth campaign. We don't do PSAs. We also need to update so to explain truth – the nonprofit behind the truth youth smoking prevention campaign – you could also say this in a funny way – best known for sharing the facts about smoking and vaping or pull from some old campaigns. Just layer in a description of truth and who the campaign is., is now on a mission to confront e-cigarette brands like JUUL about the lack of care they've taken to inform consumers of the potential adverse side effects of their products. And they're doing it with the help of animal protesters who are tired of seeing humans treated like test subjects.

The March Against JUUL | Tested On Humans | truth www.youtube.com

"No one knows the long-term effects of JUULing so any human who uses one is being used as a lab rat," says, appropriately, Mario the Sewer Rat.

"I will never stop fighting JUUL. Or the mailman," notes Doug the Pug, the Instagram-famous dog star.

Truth, the national counter-marketing campaign for youth smoking prevention, hopes this fuzzy, squeaky, snorty animal movement arms humans with the facts about vaping and inspires them to demand transparency from JUUL and other e-cigarette companies. You can get your own fur babies involved too by sharing photos of them wearing protest gear with the hashtag #DontTestOnHumans. Here's some adorable inspo for you:

The dangerous stuff is already out there, but with knowledge on their side, young people will hopefully make the right choices and fight companies making the wrong ones. If you need more convincing, here are the serious facts.

Over the last decade, 127 e-cigarette-related seizures were reported, which prompted the FDA to launch an official investigation in April 2019. Since then, over 215 cases of a new, severe lung illness have sprung up all over the country, with six deaths to date. While scientists aren't yet sure of the root cause, the majority of victims were young adults who regularly vaped and used e-cigarettes. As such, the CDC has launched an official investigation into the potential link.

Sixteen-year-old Luka Kinard, a former frequent e-cigarette-user, is one of the many teens who experienced severe side effects. "Vaping was my biggest addiction," he told NowThis. "It lasted for about 15 months of my high school career." In 2018, Kinard was hospitalized after having a seizure. He also had severe nausea, chest pains, and difficulty breathing.

After the harrowing experience, he quit vaping, and began speaking out about his experience to help inform others and hopefully inspire them to quit and/or take action. "It shouldn't take having a seizure as a result of nicotine addiction like I had for teens to realize that these companies are taking advantage of what we don't know," Kinard said.

Teens are 16 times more likely to use e-cigarettes than adults, and four times more likely to take up traditional smoking as a result, according to truth, and yet the e-cigarette market remains virtually unregulated and untested. In fact, companies like JUUL continue to block and prevent FDA regulations, investing more than $1 million in lawyers and lobbying efforts in the last quarter alone.

Photo by Lindsay Fox/Pixabay

Consumers have a right to know what they're putting in their bodies. If everyone (and their pets) speaks up, the e-cigarette industry will have to make a change. Young people are already taking action across the country. They're hosting rallies nationwide and on October 9 as part of a National Day of Action, young people are urging their friends and classmates to "Ditch JUUL." Will you join them?

For help with quitting e-cigarettes, visit thetruth.com/quit or text DITCHJUUL to 88709 for free, anonymous resources.

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Have you ever watched a movie that's so abysmally bad that you wonder how it ever even got made? Where you think, "Hundreds and hundreds of people had to have been directly involved in the production of this film. Did any of them ever think to say, 'Hey, maybe we should just scrap this idea altogether?"

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