Shaymaa Ismaa’eel had the best response to a group of anti-Muslim protestors
This past weekend, Shaymaa Ismaa’eel headed to the Islamic Circle of North America convention and was greeted by a group of anti-Muslim protestors. She decided to fight back against the hate with one simple gesture. Ismaa’eel crouched down and took a smiling picture with them – sending a powerful, important message that resonated big time online.
Ismaa’eel told Buzzfeed that she kept thinking about the protestors during the convention. She said that she wished there was a loud speaker so that they could hear the “beautiful things we [were] learning about our beloved prophet.”
On day three of the convention, she decided to take action.
“I yelled to my friend Jamilah, ‘There they are! Can you take a picture?'” Ismaa’eel recalled. “I walked up as they continued yelling their hateful speech. I asked the police officer if I could stand at the curb in front of the men. The officer said ‘no’, and in that moment I felt like the biggest rebel.” She smiled really hard for the camera, despite the fact that the men were shouting awful things at her and telling her to cover her face.
The result made for an incredibly powerful, supremely delightful picture that will make you want to cheer from your laptop. She posted it to Instagram alongside a quote from Prophet Muhammed which read: “Kindness is a mark of faith. Those who aren’t kind have no faith.”
She also shared some pictures on Twitter, featuring a whole lot of glow, tenacity, ~fire~, and some more tenacity. “On April 21st I smiled in the face of bigotry and walked away feeling the greatest form of accomplishment,” Ismaa’eel wrote alongside the snapshots.
Her tweet racked up more than 200,000 likes, over 50,000 retweets, plus hundreds and hundreds of comments. People applauded Ismaa’eel’s decision to fight hate with joy and collectively decided that the snapshot belongs in a museum (hardcore agree on that one). There was also a healthy amount of making fun of the guys behind her because, I mean, c’mon…
ALSO someone took a cue from her and got their own smiling picture which just goes to show the ripple effect that this one simple gesture has had.
Meanwhile, Ismaa’eel is still smiling and we’re all very, very grateful.
She told Buzzfeed that she had no idea that her post would resonate so widely with people.
“I didn’t expect more than my usual 120 likes,” she said. “The positivity from this is very uplifting and it’s making me happy to know that the youth can see someone being unapologetic in the face of people who hate their religion.”