“Hell, no. This is not who we are. This is not our religion. This is not what I believe,” one imam echoed the thoughts of millions of Muslims after 9/11. So many peaceful, loving, devout Muslims had to deal with consequences of their religion being linked to terrorism. This video shows what one man did to combat that prejudice. “When an imam invited a Jewish congregation to worship in his mosque, many of his members left in protest,” the description explains. “But the initial controversy has since given way to an inspiring example of tolerance and compassion.” 

After opening a school teaching Islam right before the attacks, he was told he shut the school. But he refused— because despite the hurt, pain, and disappointment, he knew that it was crucial to demonstrate what real Islam looks like, rather than the radicalized version that was being invoked to justify violent acts.

But when an Islamic and Jewish congregation decided to join together as an interfaith force, not everyone was onboard. A boycott ensued, but as the leaders held strong they managed to break through the tensions and divides. And when the group came back together, they came together stronger. Stronger in their beliefs in their own faiths, but also in their understanding of each other.

If you want to learn more about the project and the inspired men behind it, you can see the video in full here:

It’s a powerful demonstration of the progress that can be made if you’re willing to put your mind to it. Bridges can be built. “We are all human beings and we all live symbiotically,” is the most powerful message from the piece. “We are a single family now, taking care of each other.” If only more people would follow suit— but they’ve made an inspirational start.