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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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"Mom missed the memo it was parent day, and the reason her mom missed the memo was her dad left Wednesday," said Alexis Perry-Rodriguez, Addie's mom. She continued, "It was really heartbreaking to see your daughter standing out there being the only one without their father, knowing why he's away. It's not just an absentee parent. He's serving our country."

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