Shaymaa said she walked away feeling the 'greatest sense of accomplishment'.
Shaymaa said she walked away feeling the 'greatest sense of accomplishment'.

Muslim woman’s protest photo goes viral

A Muslim woman has reacted to a mob of angry Christian protesters with positivity and kindness, winning thousands of fans across the planet.

Shaymaa Ismaa'eel lives in Washington DC and works with autistic children as a behavioural therapist.

The 24-year-old is also a devout Muslim, a YouTuber and a budding fashion icon within the Muslim community, regularly posting her outfit inspirations to her Instagram account.

As an active member of the US Muslim community, Shaymaa attended the Islamic Circle of North America convention at the weekend with friends.

When she arrived at the convention centre on the first day of the event, she noticed a group of anti-Muslim protesters standing on the street.

The group of men held signs and posters with messages like, "Islam is a religion of blood and murder! The blood from Jesus is given as a ransom for all mankind".

Speaking to Buzzfeed, Shaymaa said most of the convention guests were "very upset" by the protesters, with some teenagers even trying to approach the group of angry men to reason with them.

"I wanted them to see my face, and walking by wasn't enough," she told the outlet.

"I kept thinking about them during the workshops.

"What if we had a loud speaker so they can hear the beautiful things we're learning about our beloved prophet?"

 

Her opportunity arose on Saturday when she spotted the protesters again and called out to her friend Jamiliah to take a photograph of her.

"I walked up as they continued yelling their hateful speech. I asked the police officer if I could stand at the kerb in front of the men," she said.

According to Shaymaa, the police officer refused, but she posed for the camera anyway.

"I smiled so hard in the picture, and the man (started) directing his speech toward me. Silly things like 'your face should be covered'," she said.

 

She posted her pic to Instagram, captioning it with a quote from the Prophet Muhammad written in the Koran.

"Kindness is a mark of faith. Those who aren't kind have no faith."

She wrote on Twitter she "smiled in the face of bigotry and walked away feeling the greatest form of accomplishment".

 

Shaymaa moments after the iconic photograph was taken.
Shaymaa moments after the iconic photograph was taken.

 

The photograph of the smiling Muslim woman against the background of the aggressive Christian men has since gone viral.

More than 82,000 people liked the post or shared it to Twitter, and thousands more praised Shaymaa's attitude in such a distressing situation.

People are even calling for the photo to be put in a museum and Shaymaa to be commemorated.

What do you think of Shaymaa's photograph? Let us know in the comments below!



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