This heroic man 'hugged' a terrorist. And it likely saved hundreds of lives.

You should remember the name Najih Shaker Al-Baldawi.

Najih Shaker Al-Baldawi is a hero by any definition.

His story is one that everyone should remember — especially those of us who live outside the Muslim world.

On July 7, 2016, Al-Baldawi spotted a member of the Islamic State (ISIS) disguised in a military uniform, sneaking his way toward the Sayyed Mohammad Shrine in Balad, Iraq.

The terrorist — who had strapped himself in explosives as part of a three-man suicide bomb team — was aiming to destroy the sacred structure and take as many innocent lives as possible.


Balad is no stranger to terrorism. Seen above, onlookers take in the wreckage after car bombs went off in a market in 2005, killing at least 99 people. Photo by Akram Saleh /Getty Images.

Al-Baldawi, however, stepped in by "hugging" the terrorist in an attempt to minimize or prevent the explosives' devastation, according to reports.

Al-Baldawi reportedly embraced the ISIS terrorist right before the explosive went off, sacrificing his own life and significantly reducing the blast's reach, according to Iraqi activists who identified the hero.

While at least 40 people unfortunately lost their lives in the blast, Al-Baldawi's last-second intervention likely saved hundreds of others.


Al-Baldawi's heroism is admirable. But his opposition to terrorism actually isn't all that unique, really.

It's an opposition that's shared by the vast majority of Muslims around the world.

From the picture too often being painted by Western media and presidential hopefuls alike, it may be easy to forget most victims of terrorism are, in fact, Muslim.

It may also be easy to forget that non-Muslims are responsible for the overwhelming majority of terror attacks in the U.S. and Europe.

Remembering Muslims are our allies in the fight against terrorism is not only crucial in defeating extremism, it's the morally responsible thing to do.

If we stand in solidarity with Paris after ISIS killed 130 people there last November, we should also stand in solidarity with Baghdad, which lost over 200 people at the hands of ISIS earlier this month.

If we truly celebrate diversity, we shouldn't demand our borders be closed to Muslim refugees — those who, more than anyone else, know the pain caused by religious extremism — we should welcome them with open arms.

Photo by Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images.

Muslims are not terrorists. Terrorists are terrorists. And nothing shows that more than Al-Baldawi's brave sacrifice to protect the beautiful city he called home.

More
Youtube

Flowers are a great way to express your feelings for someone. Red roses say, "I love you," but a whole garden of pink flowers screams it. One husband took the romantic gesture of getting your wife flowers to the next level.

Mr. and Mrs. Kuroki got married in 1956, and Mrs. Kuroki joined her husband on his dairy farm in Shintomi, Japan, The Telegraph reports. The couple lived a full life and had two kids. After 30 years of marriage, the couple planned on retiring and traveling around Japan, but those plans were soon dashed.

When she was 52, Mrs. Kuroki lost her vision due to complications from diabetes. Her blindness hit her hard, and she began staying inside all day. Mr. Kuroki knew his wife was depressed and wanted to do something to cheer her up.

Mr. Kuroki noticed some people stopping to admire his small garden of pink shibazakura flowers (also known as moss phlox) and got an idea. He couldn't take his wife to see the world, so he had to make the world come to his wife.

Keep Reading Show less
Family

Men are sharing examples of how they step up and step in when they see problematic behaviors in their peers, and people are here for it.

Twitter user "feminist next door" posed an inquiry to her followers, asking "good guys" to share times they saw misogyny or predatory behavior and did something about it. "What did you say," she asked. "What are your suggestions for the other other men in this situation?" She added a perfectly fitting hashtag: #NotCoolMan.

Not only did the good guys show up for the thread, but their stories show how men can interrupt situations when they see women being mistreated and help put a stop to it.

Keep Reading Show less
lop
Culture

Whenever someone's words or behavior are called out as racist, a few predictable responses always follow. One is to see the word "racist" as a vicious personal attack. Two is to vehemently deny that whatever was said or done was racist. And three is to pull out the dictionary definition of racism to prove that the words or behavior weren't racist.

Honestly, as soon as someone refers to the dictionary when discussing racism, it's clear that person has never delved deeply into trying to understand racism. It's a big old red flag, every time.

I'm not an expert on race relations, but I've spent many years learning from people who are. And I've learned that the reality of racism is nuanced and complex, and resorting to a short dictionary definition completely ignores that fact. The dictionary can't include all of the ways racism manifests in individuals and society, and the limitations of dictionary definitions make it a poor tool for discussing the topic.

Since "racism" is such a loaded term for many people, let's look at such limitations through a different complex word. Let's take "anxiety." According to Merriam-Webster, "anxiety" is defined as "apprehensive uneasiness or nervousness, usually over an impending or anticipated ill."

Keep Reading Show less
Democracy
Photo by Hunters Race on Unsplash

If you're a woman and you want to be a CEO, you should probably think about changing your name to "Jeffrey" or "Michael." Or possibly even "Michael Jeffreys" or "Jeffrey Michaels."

According to Fortune, last year, more men named Jeffrey and Michael became CEOs of America's top companies than women. A whopping total of one woman became a CEO, while two men named Jeffrey took the title, and two men named Michael moved into the C-suite as well.

The "New CEO Report" for 2018, which looks at new CEOS for the 250 largest S&P 500 companies, found that 23 people were appointed to the position of CEO. Only one of those 23 people was a woman. Michelle Gass, the new CEO of Kohl's, was the lone female on the list.

Keep Reading Show less
popular