The story behind the viral photo of Muslim and Jewish children protesting at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago.
By Vikki Ortiz Healy / Chicago Tribune
February 1, 2017
“Our tradition is not ambiguous about remembering our history for the sake of acting out in this world today.”
— Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Apell
A Muslim and a Jewish father had never met before bringing their children to O’Hare International Airport Monday to join in a protest of President Donald Trump’s immigration ban. But after a photograph showing their son and daughter interacting went viral, they decided to bring their families together next week for dinner to celebrate peace.
As of midday Tuesday, the photograph taken by Chicago Tribune photographer Nuccio DiNuzzo and shared on Twitter by @ChiTribPhoto had been retweeted by other Twitter users more than 16,000 times. The two fathers said they have fielded calls from friends, acquaintances and national news outlets wanting to hear their story.
“It all happened pretty quickly,” said Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appell, of Deerfield, who lifted his 9-year-old son, Adin, onto his shoulders Monday night when the boy asked for a better view of the crowd there to protest Trump’s executive order that freezes entry of all refugees for 120 days and blocks entry for 90 days of citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries.
At about the same time, Fatih Yildirim had lifted his 7-year-old daughter, Meryem, onto his shoulders because she was getting tired of standing.
Adin was wearing his kippah, or yarmulke, while holding a sign that read “Hate has no home here.” Meryem wore her black hijab while holding a sign that said “Love.”
DiNuzzo, a Tribune photographer for 25 years who had been assigned to capture images of Monday’s protests, said the scene immediately caught his eye.
“I thought, ‘This is too good to be true. I’ve got a Muslim kid on one side, I’ve got a Jewish boy and his dad — all cute kids,’” DiNuzzo said. “I knew that this was an important picture to make.”