Losing your faith in people? This should restore it a little.
A Muslim Swede named Ashkan Amiri participated in a social experiement during which Olle Oberg, also known as YouTube user STHLM Panda, filmed a blindfolded Amiri standing in a square in Stockholm. Amiri held a sign that said, “I’m a Muslim, not the same as a terrorist. Do you trust me? I trust you!”
Amiri said that he participated in the experiment to open people’s eyes: “I can feel that it has become tense between the Muslims and the majority of Swedes in recent years.”
Amiri stood with his arms open, ready for anything. Surprisingly, the responses were all positive. Swedish passersby stopped not to berate or harm the man, but praise him and hug him.
No fewer than 142 people gave Amiri a hug, making comments like, “I’m not a Muslim but I respect you.”
Other people said,”I trust you,” and even “I love you.”
Amiri said of the results of the experiment, “It felt wonderful to get many hugs per minute for extended periods; in the clip you can see me smiling broadly, this is not fake, it came automatically thanks of all the hugs. My fear was forgotten and I realized that there are still many people who see us Muslims as citizens and human beings.”
Oberg said of the video, “The idea behind STHLM Panda has always been to make people see each other, this time we did this clip together with our friend Ashkan Amiri as a peaceful demonstration for a tolerant and open society. It was inspired by other actions from several muslim communities all around the world. We want to try to break stereotypes and encourage trust between people.”
He added, “Before we started the experiment, we were all a little nervous. The enormous love we were met by changed it totally. We had not expected that so many people would choose to give a hug, it was a very pleasant surprise.”