DUBLIN, Ohio (WCMH) — Cynthia de Boutinkhar is the woman behind a hug seen ’round the world.
Cynthia, a Muslim, embraces another woman she calls Annie, who showed up to protest Islam at a place of worship in Dublin.
It’s opened up an incredible dialogue.
The protest Saturday was part of a larger protest planned at Mosques around the country, but at Noor Islamic Center only one woman showed. In the video she is greated by members and supporters of the Islamic Community. At first she is combative, saying “get away from me Satan.”
But gradually the anti-protestors win her over. Eventually, de Boutinkhar hugs the protester and she is welcomed inside.
“Yeah, the reaction’s insane,” de Boutinkhar said.
OSU Middle Eastern studies professor Alam Payind is calling for more acts of kindness like this.
“I would like these kinds of things to go further,” he said.
Payind says the video should encourage a better understanding of one another.
Cynthia de Boutinkhar agrees. She says strangers are stopping to say thank you, and that ultimately this change of heart is what it’s all about.