Blindfolded Muslim student asks passers-by for hugs

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Monday, November 23, 2015
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A Muslim student in South Carolina is following a trend set in Paris and challenging hate - one hug at a time.

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WPVI) -- A Muslim college student living in South Carolina blindfolded himself, then opened his heart and arms to anyone passing by, reports WSPA-TV.

Alend Barzenji stood on a Greenville street and with signs, asking people to trust him enough to give him a hug. He used the blindfold to show that he trusted them, too.

Alend said he did it because of the backlash he saw following the Paris attacks. He says he saw video of another Muslim man doing the same thing.

He stood on the street for about two hours and said the response was better than he expected. Many people passed by, but many others took him up on his offer.

"I didn't expect that much positivity, but I had faith in Greenville," he said. "It's something that shows love, peace and acceptance and that's what this is all about."

Many people passed him by, but many others took him up on his offer for a hug. Alend says he hopes those who didn't share an embrace with him at least keep an open mind.

"Some of us just really want better for the world," he said.