Christian’s post-New Zealand attack gesture for Muslim worshippers in Manchester goes viral

Christian’s post-New Zealand attack gesture for Muslim worshippers in Manchester goes viral
Christian man Andrew Graystone in the UK has won the hearts of people across the globe after his gesture of protecting Muslim worshippers at a Manchester mosque
Updated 17 March 2019

Christian’s post-New Zealand attack gesture for Muslim worshippers in Manchester goes viral

Christian’s post-New Zealand attack gesture for Muslim worshippers in Manchester goes viral
  • Following the tragic events, Graystone said he was determined to show his support for the Muslim community
  • The image shared by Twitter user Zia Salik went viral almost immediately

LONDON: A Christian man in the UK has won the hearts of people across the globe after his gesture of protecting Muslim worshippers at a Manchester mosque went viral in the wake of the New Zealand terror attacks.
Andrew Graystone told Manchester Evening News that he had been “horrified” to read the news of 50 people being killed by a white supremacist terrorist as they attended prayers at a mosque in the city of Christchurch last Friday.
Following the tragic events, Graystone said he was determined to show his support for the Muslim community in his home city of Manchester.
He was pictured outside a mosque in the Levenshulme area of the city, holding a sign which read: “You are my friends. I will keep watch while you pray.”

The image shared by Twitter user Zia Salik went viral almost immediately as details emerged of the attack in New Zealand.
Speaking to MEN, Graystone said: “I woke up on Friday morning and I heard the terrible news about the killings in the mosque in Christchurch.
“I began to think about how I would feel if I was a Muslim in Manchester going to Friday prayers, perhaps feeling afraid or angry, and what small thing I could do to make a difference.
“You can either meet these things with either fear or friendship — that’s the choice we have to make and in the end friendship wins.”
Explaining why he made the sign, he told the newspaper: “Levenshulme is a very multicultural community with churches, mosques and even a Jain temple all very close together.
“The relationships are generally really good but something like the New Zealand incident can test them.
“Something I could offer to people in Manchester was to literally watch their backs or at least stand outside with a smiling face at the doors of the mosque as they arrive.
“You could see people wondering what I was doing at first. Perhaps they thought I was some sort of protester with a placard.
“But as they saw the message they smiled and after prayers they came out to thank me. People said they were glad to be supported.
“I belong to a church and so we have a lot in common,” he added.

 


Conjoined Pakistani twins get ‘new life’ following rare separation surgery

Conjoined Pakistani twins get ‘new life’ following rare separation surgery
Updated 19 January 2021

Conjoined Pakistani twins get ‘new life’ following rare separation surgery

Conjoined Pakistani twins get ‘new life’ following rare separation surgery
  • Although there is no known cause for the conjoining, it can be diagnosed in early pregnancy through an ultrasound

KARACHI: When expectant parents Shaheen Bibi and Israr Ahmed went to a small government hospital in eastern Karachi for an ultrasound late in 2019, a doctor pointed out “two dots” on the scan but gave no further details.

Months later, in March, Shaheen Bibi gave birth to twins Aman and Ayan who had a rare congenital disorder: The boys were conjoined at the abdomen and shared several internal organs, a condition that affects only one in 250,000 births.

Although there is no known cause for the conjoining, it can be diagnosed in early pregnancy through an ultrasound. The Ahmed’s were not so lucky.

The couple were told that surgery to separate the boys would cost millions of rupees, a sum they had no hope of ever raising themselves.

But that was until a Dubai-based businessman stepped forward to pay for the procedure after an appeal by the Sarim Burney Trust International.

Last month, in Karachi’s Aga Khan Hospital, 50 doctors and hospital staff worked eight hours to perform one of the world’s most difficult surgeries, successfully separating the boys.

Trust chairman, Sarim Burney, told Arab News: “The parents were poor. When we got to know that the treatment was possible in Aga Khan Hospital, we appealed on a television show and the appeal reached Nasser Hussain Abdullah Lootah.”

Lootah had previously helped support a similar surgery in the UK on conjoined twin sisters from Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

“Though I had faith my children would one day be separated, I knew I would never be able to afford such an expensive surgery,” the boys’ father, a low-paid mill worker, said.

According to a press statement from the hospital, the twins were joined at the torso and faced each other, so a complete incision was required to flip them around.

“This is a rare surgery that the hospital has performed for the second time,” Dr. Zafar Nazir, a senior pediatric surgeon at Aga Khan Hospital, told Arab News.

“A tremendous amount of effort went into the rearrangement of the resources, both inside and outside the operating room. But at the end of this procedure, it was a joy to watch both the boys get a new life.”

Only 500 cases of this particular conjoining have been reported in the world to date, he said, and only 150 of them operated upon, with a 50 percent success rate.

“Such operations are very complex, and the cost is very high so no parents and no hospitals can bear the cost alone. There is a great role of donors and welfare organizations, who make such surgeries possible,” Nazir added.

Ahmed and his wife said they were deeply grateful to the hospital medical staff, the charity, and the donors for giving their boys, now 10 months old, a fresh start in life.

“When he (Lootah) saw my sons after the operation, he was very happy and announced that he would bear all the expenses of their education. My happiness knows no bounds,” Ahmed said.

“Even happiness is too small a word. When the hospital handed us our boys, I told the doctors: ‘I had brought you one body and now I’m taking home two beautiful children.’”