“On April 21st I smiled in the face of bigotry and walked away feeling the greatest form of accomplishment,” Shaymaa Ismaa’eel tweeted last week.
On April 21st I smiled in the face of bigotry and walked away feeling the greatest form of accomplishment. pic.twitter.com/Dbrtk7MDAw
— شيماء (@ShaymaaDarling) April 23, 2019
The young Muslim-American—proudly donning her hijab— posed in front of protestors holding signs that spewed anti-Muslim messages, among them one that read “Islam is a religion of blood and murder”.
Naturally, the photo immediately went viral. The 24-year-old, who works with children with autism was attending the 44th annual Muslim American Society and the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) convention in Washington DC, when she had her friend snap the shot.
“I wanted them to see the smile on my face, and see how happy I was to be me and walk around being a Muslim woman,” she explained.
Ismaa’eel also posted the photo on Instagram with the caption “Kindness is a mark of faith. Those who aren’t kind have no faith”.
In a world where islamophobia is at an all-time high, Ismaa’eel’s message rang loud. The photo has since garnered over 360,000 likes.