One Pennsylvania high school student helped dispel a common (and offensive) stereotype with a single tweet, and now she's being cheered on by the Internet.
Lamyaa was in a group chat with her friends when people began discussing politics. As reported by Buzzfeed News, during part of the conversation, the 17-year-old critiqued President Trump's statements regarding Islam. In response, someone in the group chat spoke harshly to her.
"Stop defending Islam bitch," the person wrote, according to a screenshot posted by Lamyaa on Twitter. "Shut up you couldn't take your scarf off or your dad would beat your ass."
Lamyaa, whose dad lives in Saudi Arabia, said it was clear to her her being Muslim set this guy off.
"That guy didn't feel comfortable so he said what he said," she told BuzzFeed News.
So, to prove a point to the group chat — in particular, to the person who had suggested that he dad would beat her if she removed her hijab — Lamyaa texted her father.
"I was thinking. I want to take my hijab off," she wrote.
"Sweetheart," her father responded, as seen in a screenshot. "That's not my decision to make. That's no man's decision to make. If it's what you feel like you want to do, go ahead. I'll support you no matter what."
Although Lamyaa didn't really want to take her hijab off, her dad's reply was all the proof she needed. Lamyaa tweeted out the conversation with her dad, and it apparently struck a chord. As of Monday night, it had over 145,000 retweets.
"I have gotten many heartwarming messages of people showing me support, but also of people wanting to learn more about Islam or wanting to be a part of it," she told Upworthy after her tweet went viral. "I felt like I could help in a way, and it was very humbling."
While Lamyaa was met largely with support, there were some critiques in her mentions that rolled in from fellow Muslim women. Some women, like the one below, pointed out that just because Lamyaa wasn't facing some kind of oppression didn't mean that other Muslims aren't.
Lamyaa responded directly to these tweets with an apology and said she reached out personally to some of the people that were offended by her post.
"They misunderstood my tweet, but I do understand their anger," she told BuzzFeed. "My intention was in no way, shape or form to speak over or offend anyone."
While Lamyaa's conversation with her dad was a novel thing to share publicly, the use of Twitter to dispel rumors about Islam is becoming a weekly — if not daily — occurrence.
Just last week, American Muslim, author, attorney and Twitter star Qasim Rashid shot down some Islamophobia that showed up in his inbox by reminding a white supremacist that Islam is not the only religion that has wrestled with violence. Rashid, much like Lamyaa, used his platform to push back against stereotypes.
Kudos to Lamyaa and Rashid for their strength and their quick wits. We're better off for the conversations that they've started.
Cover image via Shutterstock / GaudiLab.