A heartwarming photo of two children, a Muslim girl and Jewish boy, rallying for the same cause along with their fathers has become a social media sensation.
The two children, seven-year-old Meryem and nine-year-old Adin, were captured at a demonstration against US President Donald Trump’s travel ban at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on Monday night.
While Meryem’s father Fatih Yildirim can be seen holding a handmade sign which reads ‘Empathy’, nine-year-old Adin’s father Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appell has a sign board which says “We’ve seen this before, never again”. The photo shows the kids looking across at each other with smiles on their faces.
Talking to CNN, Yildirim said they were chatting about the similarities between halal and kosher diets when Chicago Tribune photographer Nuccio DiNuzzo approached for a photo.
The picture warmed millions of hearts, including California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom who shared the photo with the caption: “This is the America that is worth every second of the fight ahead.”
Originally from Turkey, Yildirim moved to the United States in 2002, he applied for citizenship last year after Trump began anti-Muslim rhetoric during his presidential campaign. “Meryem started crying, feeling like Trump was going to kick her father out,” he said.
The Chicago resident along with his wife and four children brought homemade cookies for the lawyers working pro bono to help victims of the travel ban at the O’Hare airport. “This is the first time for me,” said Yildirim. “I wanted to go out and show my support.”
For Yildirim, their photo encapsulates solidarity. “This is the picture that people are actually looking for. People want peace,” he said.
Bendat-Appell, who came to the protest with his son, defined it as an “ethical imperative”. He and his wife have ensured that their children comprehend why it’s important to let the refugees “know that we are here for them”.
“We feel that as Jews it is our obligation to stand up for the oppressed. Our history of persecution comes to teach us that we must not be silent in the face of injustice,” he said.
The Chicago rabbi explained that keeping religious and cultural differences aside, he and Yildirim had a lot in common. The two families plan to meet next weekend for Shabbat dinner.
This article originally appeared on the CNN.