Fear-mongering in the U.S. has culled a large percentage of citizens into believing that ISIS is synonymous with all Muslim believers. Nothing could be further from the truth, and a man’s recent actions are a testament to that.
IndiaTimes reports that when a suicide bomber from the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) attempted to blow up the Sayyed Mohammad Shrine in Balad, Iraq, a man named Najih Shaker Al-Baldwai did something most people couldn’t. He ran up to the suicide bomber and hugged him to physically dampen the explosion.
Al-Baldwai’s split-second decision saved hundreds of lives, according to a Joint Operations spokesman in Iraq. 70 injuries resulted from the explosion and 37 were killed. However, because of the man’s heroic actions, the death toll was much less than what it could have been.
Reportedly, Daesh aimed for the Shrine’s explosion to match the death count of the recent Karrada attack in Iraq which claimed 300 lives. To date, that is the deadliest single attack in Iraq since the war began to oust Saddam Hussein 13 years ago.
ISIS bombers disguised themselves as the local militia in an attempt to storm and destroy what is considered to be one of the country’s most important Shia shrines. The last time such a monument was destroyed, a civil war was sparked.
Al-Baldwai had but a second to decide to put his life on the line, and because he did, many more people are still alive today. The honorable man’s activism is also helping to deconstruct Islamophobia in the U.S. and elsewhere.
Shortly after the story broke, it went viral on countless media outlets around the world. The U.K.’s Metro and a post about his sacrifice even became the most popular submission on Reddit.