In the week since a series of terrorist attacks claimed 129 lives in Paris, mourners have gathered at memorials around the city to pay tribute to the victims.
One of those memorial sites is the Place de la République, a plaza not far from the restaurant and bar where gunfire first broke out. Earlier this week a man stood there, blindfolded, with signs that read: “I’m a Muslim and I’m told I’m a terrorist. I trust you. Do you trust me? If yes, hug me.”
In the time that followed, dozens of Parisians gathered to hug the man, some smiling, some crying, many documenting the display with cameras and phones. The hugs went on as night fell — then the man removed his blindfold and left the crowd with a parting message.
“I want to tell you that ‘Muslim’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘terrorist,'” he said. “A terrorist is a terrorist, someone willing to kill another human being over nothing. A Muslim would never do that. Our religion forbids it.”
The hugs didn’t stop there, though: Others began following suit, as shown in the video below.
The concept can also be seen in several other videos posted to YouTube earlier this year, including the Blind Trust Project, filmed in Toronto and posted just weeks after the Charlie Hebdo attack in January in order to “break down barriers and spread awareness about Islamophobia,” according to its creators.