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This victim of a horrific acid attack nailed the problem in how we see terrorism.

Jameel Muhktar and Resham Khan were attacked with acid. They need our help.

This victim of a horrific acid attack nailed the problem in how we see terrorism.

Warning: This story contains graphic imagery from an acid attack.

Jameel Muhktar thought it was some sort of "practical joke" at first. But soon after the 37-year-old rolled down his car window in East London to greet the man who'd been knocking on the glass, he realized the stranger had far darker motives.

"He just squirted this clear liquid over us," Muhktar told Channel 4 News. Then, Muhktar's skin started to burn.


Muhktar had been doused with acid.

Photo via GoFundMe.

Resham Khan, Muhktar's younger cousin who'd been sitting next to him in the car, was also targeted.

Photo via GoFundMe.

Left with severe burns covering large areas of their bodies, Muhktar and Khan, who are both Muslim, needed emergency skin-grafting procedures to repair their overwhelmingly painful injuries.

"I'm devastated," Khan wrote in a tweet thread that's gone viral. "I keep wondering if my life will ever be the same."

The two had been celebrating Khan's 21st birthday the day they were attacked.

"We're innocent people," Muhktar told Channel 4. "We didn't deserve that. I've never seen this guy in my life."

The guy Muhktar spoke of is 24-year-old John Tomlin — the reported attacker, known to have ties to the far right.

Even though officials have said "there is no current information to suggest that this attack was racially or religiously motivated,” Tomlin's past comments certainly sows doubt. A Facebook page operated by Tomlin — currently a wanted man in the U.K. — contains posts linked to bigoted, nationalist rhetoric, The Independent reported.

“A sleeping lion can only be provoked so much before it wakes up and attacks," one post from 2015 reads. "And so will us British."

In his interview with Channel 4 News, Muhktar pointed out a sad reality: Why isn't his country reacting the same way it would if he'd been a white man attacked by a Muslim?

As Muhktar explained:

“It's definitely a hate crime. I believe it's something to do with Islamophobia. Maybe he's got it in for Muslims because of the things that have been going on lately. ... If this was an Asian guy like myself, going up to a couple in a car ... an English couple, and acid attacking them, I know for a fact and the whole country knows it would be straight-away classed as a terrorism attack."

Muhktar's comment points to a disturbing trend in the U.S. and Europe.

The way we view violence is heavily dependent on who's committing the crime. When a white person, motivated by hate, attacks a person (or people) of a different group, do we perceive it as a heinous act?

We tend not to — even though white, right-wing extremists have killed more people in the U.S. in recent years than jihadists have. We see those acts as crimes committed by "lone wolfs," though — people acting independently of any sort of hate-filled ideology. That's simply not the case.

As anti-Muslim attitudes and violence rise in the West, it's important we get our facts straight.

Fortunately, many people in the U.K. and around the world have been alarmed by Tomlin's acts of violence, and they have rallied behind Muhktar and Khan in their time of need.

Two separate GoFundMe pages have been set up — one for Mukhtar and one for Khan — so that supporters can help the two with mounting medical expenses.

"Although we have faith justice will be served once the criminal is caught, the scars Resham and Jameel will carry will last a life time," reads one of the pages.

Watch Muhktar's interview with Channel 4 News below:  

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.