Muslim woman greets anti-Islam protester outside mosque and gives her a hug
Photos of a Muslim woman spontaneously hugging an anti-Islam protester outside a mosque in the U.S have gone viral.
Cynthia Eugenia Cox de Boutinkhar made the decision to embrace the protester, identified only as 'Annie'.
The incident took place outside the Noor Islamic Cultural Centre in Ohio, where Annie had decided to protest as part of a series of world-wide anti-Islam rallies.
Annie was reportedly noticeably startled when de Boutinkhar walked towards her, arms outstretched, and asked if she could give her a hug.
Though initially startled, Annie agreed, and the pair wrapped their arms around each other.
"She was super tense, kind of shaking.
“I grabbed her — I don’t know why I did this — and her whole body just relaxed like a noodle.
"I backed away from her a little bit, and she smiled," de Boutinkhar told local newspaper, The Columbus Dispatch
The Muslim woman is reported to have told Annie “I’m an American, too”, before inviting her inside the centre for a glass of water.
Annie was brought on a tour of the mosque spoke with staff for almost two hours before leaving with a copy of the Koran.
De Boutinkhar said she doesn't know what motivated her to try and defuse the situation with a hug.
"Normally, I don’t go up to somebody who despises me and give them a hug,” she said.
“Something just came across me. Allah? I don’t know.”
She added that she hopes to continue to encourage the spirit of friendship with a new hashtag #huglife.