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All Life is Sacred: Thoughts on Paris


By Sheikh Sajid Umar

A version of this post has been published here.

My dear brothers and sisters, we live in trying times and are witnessing days of hardship as frequently as we see our families – May Allah protect us! Ameen –

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What follows are a few words of caution for you to consider:

1. In Islam life is sacred and murder will always be condemned, irrespective of time and place.  We stand in solidarity with the families, friends and loved ones of every innocent soul that has been killed in Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Burma, CAR, Sri Lanka, France, Britain and every place on the planet. Our Lord says in the Qur’an:

“Whoever kills an innocent person – it is as though he has killed all of humanity.” (5:32)

2. A comment by someone in reference to the disaster in Paris or any other disaster should not be interpreted as the speaker or writer being oblivious or insensitive to the atrocities that are committed in other lands. THIS does not necessitate THAT, and doubting the intentions of others, is not praiseworthy in the Shari’ah.

I know there is a lot of emotion floating around and Muslims are constantly being battered and targeted without justice; this does not help these emotions settle. I relate to that; all I am saying is that we need to be a little more mature and wise and never forget that there is always a bigger picture that transcends the realm of the ‘self’. Everything we say and do has a cost and a consequence.

May Allah assist us with this.  Ameen.

3. Wrong will always be wrong. We should be happy only with that which pleases Allah and sad with whatever displeases Him, the Almighty.

The argument that ‘they oppress us and deserve what they get’ is flawed and has no roots within our faith. We must never judge right and wrong based on the actions of others.

Let me be clear, you cannot rejoice in someone’s innocent family being harmed because that very person harmed your innocent family. Yes, what that person did is oppressive and he must face the consequences before the law! However, his innocent family did not deserve what happened to them. This is a basic fact of life and common sense and also a fundamental teaching of the Shari’ah.

Never allow other people to walk in your head with their dirty feet.

Never allow others to dictate your Islamic values.

Instead ask yourself: what would the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) do in this circumstance. And whilst you are asking; don’t forget to visit the reputable scholars of your vicinity and enlighten yourself with regards to your question.

Remember my dear brother and sister that we are allowed to feel emotions; but ultimately we are governed by daleel (evidence) and not desire.

4. We have to be an ummah of the present reality. In fact we always have been the ummah of here and now. Somehow we have become insular communities, indifferent to the greater picture, and this has led us to become isolated.  This, along with other things, has allowed extreme groups to portray a wrong picture and create incorrect paradigms and as a consequence allowed the media to go on a campaign creating the well-known ghost called Islamophobia.

We are the ambassadors of Islam, but sadly, the true Islam has been kept a secret by us due to our refusal to engage the sensitivities of our age in the past. We just never felt the burning need to engage others and make them experience Islam. A lot has improved now, Alhamdulillah, and we ask Allah to shower upon us progress. Ameen.

Every one of us reading this must ask ourselves about the world we would love our children to live in. We must ask ourselves about the answers we will present on the Day of Judgement regarding our representation of Islam, because we were made flag bearers of this true and rich religion.

We must also consider that it is no more about the ideal versus that which is not ideal. The reality on the ground is that sometimes that which is not ideal is actually the best course of action given the circumstances.

We need to become relevant and we need to act wisely. We just don’t live in that utopian globe that is planted deep in our minds. Indeed as the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said,

“Wisdom is the lost property of a believer! He/She is the most rightful owner of it wherever it is found.”

Let us become wiser and engage our communities wisely my dear brothers and sisters.

5. Du’a is the minimum we can do. Please note the term ‘minimum’. We must make du’a and we must ensure that we are using other ‘means’ in ensuring progress. We are all part of the solution and need to come together and do more. We need to stop reading each other with double meanings. We need to stop doubting each other’s sincerity and we need to stop losing focus of the real issues that require our time and attention. Let us not become another tool for the devil – May Allah Almighty protect us all.

May Allah unite the ummah of Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), and correct our affairs. May Allah Almighty inspire us to aspire and make us the seeds of change and the means of a better tomorrow.

May Allah shower upon us security, safety and protection and guide the Muslims in their belief. Ameen.

This message is from your brother from the heart. It is not a message which generalizes and aims at being offensive. Indeed my brothers and sisters are amazing human beings. This message is a reminder to myself first. It is also a reminder to others who know, and a lesson for those who do not.

In Allah Almighty do we place all trust, and Allah Almighty knows best.


Sheikh Sajid Umar (FD IT, FD MES, LL.B Shariah, LL.M Qadha, LL.D) is an advisor with Mercy Mission World as ‘Director of Islamic Development.’  He is a lecturer for the AlKauthar Institute and the Student’s Guild Program and in addition to that he is the Chief Islamic Editor for Little Explorers Magazine. He is a project manager for several media related programs specific to Islamic Satellite Channels and is the founder of Tanzeel; an exciting and engaging on-line program focusing on the Qur’an. For more information visit

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

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  1. Keith265

    November 23, 2015 at 2:42 AM

    Why have you misquoted Quran 5:32? The copy of the Quran that I read shows 5:32 as follows –
    5:32. For that cause We decreed for the Children of Israel that whosoever killeth a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind. Our messengers came unto them of old with clear proofs (of Allah´s Sovereignty), but afterwards lo! many of them became prodigals in the earth.

    This verse is followed by 5:33 and 5:34 –

    5:33. The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His messenger and strive after corruption in the land will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land. Such will be their degradation in the world, and in the Hereafter theirs will be an awful doom;
    5:34. Save those who repent before ye overpower them. For know that Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

    The few words you quote from 5:32 when read in conjunction with the rest of the verse do not prove Islam to be peaceful and when combined with the following verses it is even worse.

    • Amatullah

      November 23, 2015 at 9:07 AM

      I don’t know what makes you feel that. If you read 5:33 carefully enough, you notice that it is being addressed to those who have transgressed all limits and waged war against the Truth – The oppressors, the muderers, the tyrants! The punishment for those people has been described in 5:33. What did you want it to be? That those tyrants will be rewarded with everlasting paradise??!!??

      5:33 – Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment,

      5:34 says – Except for those who return [repenting] before you apprehend them. And know that Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.

      The tyrants will be punished EXCEPT those who repent! SubhanAllah!!
      May Allah open the locks on our hearts and brains to understand his Book, Aameen.

      It is *This* very Islamophobia attached to people everywhere that’s leaving stains on the humanity!

      • Keith265

        November 23, 2015 at 11:05 AM

        Who is fighting against your God? Am I waging war against your God and his messenger because I definatley am not going to worship him.
        Verse 5:33 does not mention tyrants at all, it says those who wage war against Allah and his messenger and those who spread corruption in the land. That covers just about anyone who does not bow down an worship Muhammad.
        In your last paragraph you bring up Islamophobia why don’t you read the following article which is all about Islamophobia.
        A phobia is an irrational fear of something. Why don’t we ask the families of those killed in Paris, the Christians and Yazidi’s in Syria and Iraq, the Christians in Pakistan, Nigeria and any other peoples who are being attacked followers of Islam, if their fear is Islam should be called irrational.
        I do not believe that muslims should be treated differently than anyone else but you muslims need to start accepting that the vast majority of terrorists today are muslims who are committing atrocities in the name of your religion and are using verses from the koran and sunnah to justify those atrocities.
        Whilst all we ever hear from people like you is shouts of Islamophobia, whining about how hard done by you all are.
        Please explain something I have long wondered about, If all these terrorists are nothing to do with Islam and they are not muslims why do you all get so upset about any steps taken to eradicate them?
        I notice that you have not commented about verse 5:32 at all.

      • Sajid Umar

        November 23, 2015 at 2:18 PM

        I couldn’t have said it better myself! Jazakillahu khaira, Amatullah

      • Truth

        November 23, 2015 at 7:01 PM

        Then what Sajid Umar should of done was to qualify verse 5.32 with the next verses. The way he has presented it is misleading in saying all life is sacred. What he should have said was all innocent life is sacred. . And who determines what war against Allah and His messenger is? A radical may say it is simply someone who rejects Mohamad. What are the boundaries ? who determines the definition of corruption the radicals or the moderate?. The radicals say moderates are not real Muslims and moderates say the radicals are not real Muslims. No wonder so much confusion exists in Islam.
        Also phobia means an irrational fear. In terms of non Muslim fear and mistrust of Islam it is generally based on rational logic and reason. Its based on what they see the Islomfascist elements of the Muslim world doing and the violence found in the Quran and hadith.

      • Amatullah

        November 24, 2015 at 7:46 AM

        Wa anta fajazakhAllah khayr Shaykh!

    • Truth

      November 23, 2015 at 6:58 PM

      I agree Keith. Muslims often quote peaceful verses to show Islam is a religion of peace. But as in this case what they often don’t do is quote the verse in context. One peaceful verse followed up by a violent one. This is misleading. Im not sure if this is done on purpose or not.

      • Amatullah

        November 25, 2015 at 7:06 AM

        If you ask my opinion – Along with the non-muslims who kill/dishonor muslims just because they’re muslim (Charlie hebdo?) , the other radical/person who wage war against Allah is – The ignorant muslim!! The biggest enemy of Islam is the Ignorant muslim. Whose ignorance leads him to Intolerance, whose actions destroy the image of Islam, And when people like you and Keith look at him , they think that Islam is WHAT HE IS. They don’t even make an effort to understand Islam beyond that!
        Waiting for you Jesus-Peace be on you our beloved Prophet! Set this world right soon.

      • Amatullah

        November 25, 2015 at 7:10 AM

        Brother, the verses quoted above or for that matter, ANY verse isn’t violent! Please refer to these links if you care to know –

    • Kristy

      November 23, 2015 at 10:06 PM

      agree- Sheikh Sajid Umar omitted the first part of 5:32, which significantly parallels
      Talmud: Sanhedrin 37a. Not being an exact copy, it indeed parallels what a rabbi said.
      “For this reason was man created alone, to teach thee that whosoever destroys a single soul of israel, scripture imputes [guilt] to him as though he had destroyed a complete world; and whosoever preserves a single soul of israel, scripture ascribes [merit] to him as though he had preserved a complete world.” -Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Sanhedrin, Folio 37a
      “The Sanhedrin parallel is not in the Torah as it is merely a rabbinical commentary on Cain’s murder of Abel, derived from the use of the plural, “bloods”, in Genesis 4:10. It is a Mishnayot – a teaching of a Jewish sage. Thus, it cannot be of divine origin.”
      The Qur’an itself admits to the borrowing with the phrase, ‘We decreed for the Children of Israel”… That is past tense; given to Children of Israel, not to muslims; and if Allah said that, then he took it from a Jewish rabbi.

      • Mustafa

        November 24, 2015 at 2:07 AM

        Quran doesn’t admit to copying nor did it. Why would it need to since it is from Allah? If there is some resemblance to previous scripture it is because that previous scripture was possibly from Allah.

        Quran has many historical miracles proving Rabbis wrong. Islam is the only way to Paradise.

      • Amatullah

        November 24, 2015 at 2:09 AM

        Brush up your knowledge about Jewish rabbis!
        “if Allah said that, then he took it from a Jewish rabbi”, Should be “if Allah said that, then Allah HIMSELF must have said what you claim your jewish rabbi said in the past”

      • Samy

        November 24, 2015 at 3:00 AM

        I wonder who borrowed from who. The Talmud manuscript is dated around the 12 century. The earliest full Quranic Manuscript which is no different to the Quran we have today is dated late 6th century.

    • Samy

      November 25, 2015 at 1:34 AM


      What do you call it when my wife is harassed only for wearing the hijab or when my children are called terrorists at school only for being Muslims. If that’s not an irrational phobia then what is?

      Why should the majority of peaceful Muslims around the world suffer because of the actions of a few crazy extremists.

      Verse 5.32 refers to innocent life, 5:33-34 refers to the legal punishment for highway brigades robbing & killing innocent people. There is a context to the verse & It has always been understood in this way since the time of the prophet (pbuh). This is undisputed. Only people with a certain Anti-Islamic agenda will read it in any other way.

    • Amatullah

      November 25, 2015 at 6:42 AM

      1) I thought you were more worried about the verses following 5:32. Also, taking a part of a verse DOES NOT mean misquoting! Oh yeah, theres no one waging war against Allah and messenger but STILL muslims are killed in thousands. Reason? “Muslim”, “worships Allah” .Who then are they fighting then? This is exactly meant by tyrant as well as those who wage war against Allah.
      2) I am not interested in reading the article about Islamophobia. What you spoke without understanding is enough example. Another fact from what you speak is – You don’t know a bit about Islam! Believe me! (“That covers just about anyone who does not bow down an worship Muhammad.”). Worship Muhammad? Nonsense! No one does that!
      As for the rest, I’ll just say – Bro, you don’t know even the basics of Islam, how do you then judge it? Why should I then answer your half-knowledged self?
      Thank You!

  2. John Howard

    November 23, 2015 at 2:54 AM

    “We just never felt the burning need to engage others and make them experience Islam. ”
    Just what do you mean by making them feel Islam?

    • Sa'ad

      November 23, 2015 at 11:21 AM

      We are pleased to be safe in the guidance and help of God. We wish that for all the people. Children of Adam, Remember.

    • Hisham Jafar

      November 23, 2015 at 2:42 PM

      By that, I think he meant a holistic form of engagement involving dialogue, maintaining exemplary character, and education. This goes further than merely informing people about Islam, we don’t want people to just know what Islam is, we want them to experience it for what it truly is by reaching out to them proactively, instead of just reacting to these incidents.

    • Keith265

      November 23, 2015 at 4:02 PM

      I think what they mean by feel Islam is just what has happened in Paris, London 7/7, 9/11 and all the other 27,200 attacks in the name of Islam.

      • Amatullah

        November 24, 2015 at 7:43 AM

        Keith265 is just being like “Aha! The first one dint work? Lemme try another”.

  3. masood

    November 23, 2015 at 10:55 AM

    Very nice and informative. may Allah increase your knowledge further for the benefit of Muslims as well as non-Muslims.

  4. Abdullah

    November 24, 2015 at 7:07 AM

    Keith265 – a deluded man you are indeed. Trying to cause a stir. A fantastic article and you choose to select one small portion and cause a stir.

    27,200 attacks in the name of Islam?? More like the West have killed more than 70 million in one century. Get your facts right before you post your baseless arguments.

  5. Zaid

    November 24, 2015 at 11:14 PM

    This site is primary intended for a Muslim audience.

    I therefore ask the Moderators to please delete any anti-islamic comments.

    It isn’t about free speech or having an open-mind or whatever, there are different places to argue about your positions. This is a place for thoughtful discussions and a place to understand Islam and Muslims. Anyone coming here and attacking Islam should be blocked, there’s no civilized discussion where they’re coming from. I’m sorry but there are so many forums where we can argue a worldview and whatnot — this isn’t that. Attack Muslims/Islam on another page, not here — Facebook, Youtube works.

    So please do delete future comments of this type because it seems they’ve established themselves on MuslimMatters. We come here for a sense of peace and enlightenment, not to read such nonsense as what I’m seeing in these comments.

    • Amatullah

      November 25, 2015 at 7:15 AM

      I agree with bro Zaid. People who aren’t interested shouldn’t just wander about here and cause an unnecessary stir.
      @Aly Balagamwala – Bro, you might be helpful in this.

      • Aly Balagamwala

        November 26, 2015 at 9:37 AM

        Dear Akhi and Ukhti

        While our primary target audience is indeed Muslims in the west, there is an effort to make this a platform for dawah as well. While we do try to keep comments in check, this issue brings about feeling that are very raw. It also sometimes brings out the misconceptions that non-muslims hold in their mind. It is very important for them to have a voice as well, so we can teach them our religion is not what the media portrays and what they perceive of it.

        Granted that there are some commenters who come here to create mischief and nothing else (from amongst the Muslims as well as the non-Muslims). I have been handling comments on this site for over 4 years and seen a lot of negative comments over the years. It is tough to be fair and let all viewpoints across (while maintaining a positive environment for our readers).

        Sometimes Zaid you have to remember the ayat of Quran 25:63.

        Best Regards
        Your Brother in Islam

  6. Apwriter

    November 25, 2015 at 11:32 PM

    Censoring uncomfortable POV is one of many reasons Islam incomparable with Western values.

    • Amatullah

      November 26, 2015 at 12:06 AM

      Who wants to compare? Peace at the cost of anything!

    • Zaid

      November 27, 2015 at 1:12 AM

      Sorry, I wasn’t clear in what I wanted to say, but I’m responding to you in particular.

      Islam is perfecting fine with uncomfortable view points, I mean we’re taught how to live with them and more importantly it has occurred on a large scale in Muslim history (think how Islamic philosophy spread,*it wasn’t always very Islamic*).

      It’s just when you attack a religion it should be civilized and academic.

      My issue was only with comments that appear to be spam more than anything else. When you’re not willing to consider the opinion of the other, and you’re so convinced of your own opinions and you use that as a basis to launch an assault without considering for a moment you might be doing something wrong — that’s my issue. When we have emotionally settled opinions and we fling that at others without ever stopping to consider we’re wrong.

      I have no issues with an atheist coming on these forums and asking questions, or a Christian pointing out where they believe us Muslims have it wrong — as long as it’s done in an appropriate manner — and that is an Islamic stance.

      Muslims also come on this page seeking answers and they ought not to be left feeling worse than they were when they come on the site and that was my point. These are times where we Muslims are also seeking peace, internally as much as externally and I pray we all find it.

      I’m personally willing to discuss on any issue, as long as it remains a discussion. The second it turns into a heated argument, I’m out, because that’s when no one’s going to benefit — it all becomes a matter of ego.

      • Mohamed Abdelaziz

        November 28, 2015 at 9:47 AM

        Actually Zaid, I don’t agree with you. I don’t see any justification to silence people for saying things you don’t like. I don’t imagine the prophet would ever agree to this. 2nd thing is that this is not the place? The truth is that, this website is the BEST place, as learned Muslims actually get a chance to respond to these allegations. You accusing Keith of being malicious, how do you know? Your request only tells others that you don’t have any intellectual strength. The fact is, we don’t live in an ideal world, you can’t tell people how to criticize instead of responding to them. One last thing is that, you shoudnt be worring about other’s behavior. Allah is testing you and you are responsible for your own actions, so make sure they count.

  7. masood

    November 26, 2015 at 2:19 AM

    Keith’s comment ” the Quran I read” explains it all. I think what Zaid has said is the right way forward in addressing persons who only want to create unnecessary rifts.

  8. Zaid

    November 28, 2015 at 3:42 PM

    @Mohammad abdelAziz,

    I’m currently doing my undergrad in philosophy and religion (sorry, don’t intend on flaunting my ego) — I devote most of my time to responding to and considering different ‘uncomfortable view points’ which majority of people do not even know exists — and at this point, I can say I’ve been there and done that.

    And I guess that’s why perhaps I jumped to certain conclusions — I apologize to Keith and to you for that. Most Muslims don’t even know how to respond to the manner of criticism that comes off of from someone like keith. And they only cause further trouble for themselves and they push people like Keith further away. I guess it’s not smart for me to assume that, but I’ve seen it enough, and I’d rather that this not become a place like that. It’s not like MuslimMatters has a team specialized in responding to people like him

    At the end, I can see your point and that’s why I never responded to Br. Aly, because you two might have a point. I was afraid people like Keith were going to pop up on every page and stir up trouble (not that they do intentionally, I guess). At the end I’m just tired of reading comments stemming from ignorance because I’ve read too much of that (perhaps not as much as br.aly, may Allah give him more patience) and I don’t want this place to become anything like that.

    But I’m going to remain silent on this from now on, because I see your point and I think the two of you are more wise than I am. Jazaka’Mullahu Khairan.


  9. Daniela

    December 5, 2015 at 9:41 AM

    I can’t quote the Quran and I’m not interested in interpreting neither the Quran nor the Bible or any other ancient book in any way, because there are always different ways of interpreting anything written, which has a lot to do with what one wants to see in it and also where the interpreter comes from.
    I’m German, so it’s a bit difficult, expressing myself strongly through the english language, hope you’ll understand my comment, anyway. And I hope it might give you a different perspective on what’s going on, seen from a German’s perspective, a mother’s perspective and a person, who doesn’t quote and interprete, but tries seeing things from a human kind of view, sensitive to what’s going around her and critical to western politics.
    My personal view on what’s going on, is this:
    The western world, or say : The US has created a monster.
    Intruding other countries for oil and power has created kind of a countermovement- the IS.
    What I understand is, that the IS kills even more Muslims than any other “non-believers” or people of other religions – which comes naturally as in places where the IS murders there are mainly Muslims living, same with Boko Haram in Nigeria. IS considers even “moderate” Muslims not to be “real, good” Muslims.
    About the actual situation and more and more young people converting to a radical islam, I can only speak about Germany and the UK, but I suppose it’s the same everywhere.
    I live in North-Rhine Westfalia, where there are many Muslims, mainly Turks who came here in the 60ies to work in the Coal industry, the Car industry, and so on. I was born in 72, so I don’t really know what went wrong then, but raising my african-german kids, born in the early 90ies, I have come closer to understanding many things, as my kids had loads of friends from many different places and religions all over the world.I’ve learned that it’s not so easy figuring out what went wrong- were Germans not open enough to the Muslims (people here are very,very catholic) or is it also the fact that the Muslims felt homesick, so far away and built up their own communities, even making the Sharia the only law in their selfmade little cities?
    I think it’s of no use discussing how to interprete the Quran, especially with people who use their religion to be good people just for themselves without trying to convert others or hate them for living differently. We need to stop arguing and do something!
    There are many cases of young men and even women becoming radical islamists and I am very sure that this is NOT for religious reasons. It’s because society has failed. Because most people strive for money and possession and especially the youth who has difficulties keeping up with what society asks of them, has loads of fears of the future, they feel hopeless, many don’t have the proper support at home. We have to give the youth strenght and self- confidence for being able to solve problems without violence. We also have to pay account to the fact that mentalities are different, we, the western world, Europeans, can’t force our values onto others. I am sure they will come naturally, as our Muslim brothers and sisters will realise that not all of us are two-faced. Because what the youth following the IS is suffering from is just the same as many of us are suffering from in these insecure times- insecurity and instability. We need more social workers to integrate them, listen to their fears and worries, give them hope for the future and make them handle the injustice which the western world plays a big role in.
    We can’t do much about what narcissistic, megalomaniac politicians do elsewhere, but we can do a lot to avoid the radical islam spreading, making our youth to want to sacrifice their young lives for some radical ideas and promises!
    I’d like to say something about Zaid’s last post- especially the second paragraph. I understand what you’re saying. I am very active on Facebook, often discuss issues on Muslims, IS, war, and so on. There’s often the situation there when Germans argue quite harshly, some have prejudices, some have really radical views on all Muslims and their believe in general and only few are open minded. Some weeks ago a Muslim turkish young guy there, with a bit of a scary profile picture, responded very harshly on a comment made by someone not in a really bad way, but he expressed himself quite “undiplomaticly”, he kind of said that Muslims an IS people are kind of the same. What I’ve experienced in my hometown with a very high percentage of those young, very proud and very short – tempered young muslims is, that they feel so easily insulted and take things so personally, that they get really very aggressive immediately, one really, really has to choose his words carefully for not annoing them ( for Germans it’s typical to say things straight, which can really hurt others even if it’s not meant in a bad way). I was able to calm the guy down, we found out that we have loads of things in common, how we think about many things. So after some time of chatting, he changed his profile picture to a nice picture of himself and we had a long personal chat through the messenger. I told him that I fully understand his anger but that the way he (and many of these guys) react , often frightens people. It’s definately ok standing up for your believes and to defend them- but I also believe in making people understand my p.o.v. in a non- violent way, because people tend to listen more when you’re friendly. I think the guy got the message and I guess I was able to make him understand that you don’t convince people through aggression. Or war.

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