After shootings, UK man watches over Muslims in prayer
Amidst the violence of the Christchurch shootings, one man in Manchester headed to a mosque with a message of solidarity last March 15.
Andrew Graystone, 57, stood outside his local mosque in Manchester with a sign that said, “You are my friends. I will keep watch while you pray.” His daughter Ruth Kyle was one of the many who shared the picture on Twitter, with her post having received over 119,000 likes, as of writing.
— Ruth Kyle (@RuthieKyle) March 15, 2019FEATURED STORIESNEWSINFONEWSINFO
He told The Guardian on Sunday, March 17 that initially, some were wary of him, thinking that he was standing in protest. But upon seeing his sign, their reactions changed.
During the service, the imam praised him for the act and people approached him to express their gratitude after their prayers.
On his Twitter account, he had words of sympathy and hope after news of the mosque attacks which took 50 lives. He said on his Twitter account that he has been flooded with “tens of thousands” of messages.
“Can I suggest that Christians and others who are available gather outside their local mosque during Friday prayers today (about 12-1) to stand guard over our Muslim friends while they pray?” he asked on Friday.
“Dear friends in New Zealand. Manchester knows what it is to be struck by terror. We are with you. Choose #FriendshipNotFear,” he tweeted on Saturday, March 16.
Graystone himself is Christian, but views his gesture as not one between religions but one of “friendship and community,” he told the publication. “You have to take the first step sometimes and build bridges.” Niña V. Guno/JB
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.