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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Macy's and Girls Inc. believe that all girls deserve to be safe, supported, and valued. However, racial disparities continue to exist for young people when it comes to education levels, employment, and opportunities for growth. Add to that the gender divide, and it's clear to see why it's important for girls of color to have access to mentors who can equip them with the tools needed to navigate gender, economic, and social barriers.

Anissa Rivera is one of those mentors. Rivera is a recent Program Manager at the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc., a nonprofit focusing on the holistic development of girls ages 5-18. The goal of the organization is to provide a safe space for girls to develop long-lasting mentoring relationships and build the skills, knowledge, and attitudes to thrive now and as adults.

Rivera spent years of her career working within the themes of self and community empowerment with young people — encouraging them to tap into their full potential. Her passion for youth development and female empowerment eventually led her to Girls Inc., where she served as an agent of positive change helping to inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Inspiring young women from all backgrounds is why Macy's has continued to partner with Girls Inc. for the second year in a row. The partnership will support mentoring programming that offers girls career readiness, college preparation, financial literacy, and more. Last year, Macy's raised over $1.3M for Girls Inc. in support of this program along with their Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programming for more than 26,000 girls. Studies show that girls who participated are more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, score higher on standardized math tests, and be more equipped for college and campus life.

Thanks to mentors like Rivera, girls across the country have the tools they need to excel in school and the confidence to change the world. With your help, we can give even more girls the opportunity to rise up. Throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases or donate online to support Girls Inc. at Macys.com/MacysGives.

Who runs the world? Girls!

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In the Pacific Northwest, orca sightings are a fairly common occurrence. Still, tourists and locals alike marvel when a pod of "sea pandas" swim by, whipping out their phones to capture some of nature's most beautiful and intelligent creatures in their natural habitat.

While orcas aren't a threat to humans, there's a reason they're called "killer whales." To their prey, which includes just about everything that swims except humans, they are terrifying apex predators who hunt in packs and will even coordinate to attack whales several times their own size.

So if you're a human alone on a little platform boat, and a sea lion that a group of orcas was eyeing for lunch jumps onto your boat, you might feel a little wary. Especially when those orcas don't just swim on by, but surround you head-on.

Watch exactly that scenario play out (language warning, if you've got wee ones you don't want f-bombed):

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