As some Muslims — and the mosques they worship in — have been subjected to racism, bigotry and hate, a man in Texas has been spreading a positive and powerful message.
Over the past several days, a photo has swept across social media, showing 53-year-old Justin Normand, with a white beard and wearing a cowboy hat, holding a sign outside the Islamic Center of Irving near Dallas.
“You Belong. Stay Strong,” it reads. “Be Blessed. We Are One America.”
Normand, of Dallas, told The Washington Post on Wednesday that he never intended to draw nationwide attention when he first went to the mosque Friday, then for a short time Saturday and Sunday. He said he just wanted to express support for his Muslim neighbors.
But his message struck a nerve when it was posted on Reddit and Twitter, reaching thousands who said it gave them hope.
“It is the message — not me — that is transcendent,” Normand said in a phone interview. “I just …