Emory Muslim students send message of love to victims of terrorist attacks

By Leslie King | Emory Report | April 11, 2016

In a simple, heartfelt video titled "And Love," diverse Muslim students from Emory send prayers of compassion and support to victims of recent terrorist attacks.

Twelve Muslim students from Emory have created a video with messages of sympathy, support and, most of all, love for victims of recent terrorist attacks and extremism.

Directed and produced by Reem al-Atassi 16C and Mashal Mirza 17C, the video, titled "And Love," was posted on YouTube on March 26, just after terrorist attacks in Istanbul, Brussels and Iraq.

"Reem and I saw this as a way to reach out to victims who have suffered from these tragedies,” Mirza says.

The two got the word out about the project through various communications outlets for Emory’s Muslim students, including the "Muslims of Emory" GroupMe and the Emory Muslim Students Association's Facebook page.

“This video is about praying for humanity, empathizing with those who are suffering the most right now,” Mirza says. “Rather than verbalizing what Islam is, we tried to demonstrate what our religion teaches us to be — caring, kind and concerned with those less fortunate than ourselves.”

Al-Atassi says she "was in a low place" after learning about the bombings. "There's this quote that I love by Robert Ingersoll: 'We rise by lifting others,'" she explains. "It's amazing how much springing to service can do for your own pain."

Mirza describes the reaction to the video as “overwhelmingly positive. Students, both Muslim and non-Muslim, have shown support.”

“Muslims have been gratified to see something that actually represents their responses to the tragedies,” says Al-Atassi. “Non-Muslims have also expressed delight and gratitude; we've gotten everything from, ‘The two of you are doing awesome things!’ to ‘This is amazing!’"

The two chose the video format because a video “unifies sight and sound to create a more individualistic message," Mirza says. "When you can see several Muslims verbalizing their hopes for peace and humanity, it takes the message further than written word.”

Rose Deighton, an Emory PhD candidate in religion, wrote about the video in an article for the Huffington Post. “It represents the antidote to the current social climate, in which fear and ignorance join in arms to divide people,” Deighton says.

“Rather than using evidence from history or scripture to prove the humanity of Muslims, Mashal and Reem went straight to the heart, using compassion, empathy and love. What greater signs of humanity can we imagine alongside love and compassion?” she says. 

Al-Atassi says they are working with Muslim alumni to get the video to the embassies of those countries.