Meet Mahmoud ElAwadi, a proud Muslim American whose Facebook post about donating blood after the terrible mass shooting in Orlando, Florida has gone viral. Less than 24 hours after an allegedly radicalized individual named Omar Mateen shot and killed 49 people at the Pulse night club, ElAwadi joined thousands who waited in the summer heat outside health clinics and donation centers all over the city to give blood. According to ElAwadi’s post, he wanted to end the popular stigma that all Muslim Americans were nothing more than hateful, homophobic zealots. Though, his main reason for donating was far more personal.
In an interview with BuzzFeed, ElAwadi explained, “As a human, this was the least I could for my fellow Americans who were injured.” He knew “they [needed] my blood” and that he “had to give [it],” so he braved the Sunday heat and waited in line for several hours to do just that.
“I’m angry for what happened last night,” he wrote on Facebook, adding: “I’m sad, frustrated and mad that a crazy guy [claiming] to be a Muslim did that shameful act… [but] I witnessed the greatness of this country watching thousands of people standing in 92 degree sun, waiting on their turn to donate blood, even after they were told that the wait time is 5-7 hours.”
In the interview, ElAwadi said he felt it was his duty to donate. Not just because the father of two is a practicing Muslim, but because “his son was hospitalized two years ago and was only able to survive his ailment on two bags of donated blood a day.” That his son’s life was spared thanks to the kindness of strangers meant the world to him, so he decided to return the favor.
The Egyptian immigrant came to the United States 14 years ago with very little, but has since made a name for himself thanks to “what his country has given me so far”:
“The American dream was the people who gave me opportunities just because of who I am as a human being not because of my name or religion but as a man of opportunity,” he said.