Trolls: they have terrible opinions on everything, they’re hated by anyone who isn’t totally awful, and their ‘arguments’ are primarily based on lies.
Understood? Great. Now let’s look at a recent story involving a troll and a Muslim girl called Lamyaa. Lamyaa is 17-years-old and she lives in Pennsylvania, in the United States. She speaks openly about her faith on Twitter and this, unfortunately, makes her a regular target for trolls.
Last week, Lamyaa tweeted a screenshot of a message she received from one particularly reprehensible Twitter user. We won’t post it, but it basically told Lamyaa that she should stop ‘defending’ Islam because if she were to remove her hijab her father would beat her.
To put this person’s theory to the test, she texted her father to say she was going to stop wearing her hijab:
Her dad’s reply says:
‘Sweetheart 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. Is everything okay? Did something happen?’
Since posting the message, Lamyaa’s tweet has been RT’d over 148K times. Along with being an obvious viral success, her screengrab offers an important message: Muslim women are often subject to harmful stereotypes and misconceptions, especially when it comes to what they wear.
By posting her father’s text, Lamyaa made clear that the vast majority of Muslim women wear the hijab out of choice, as a way to express their faith. Lamyaa, reiterating that she doesn’t speak for all Muslim women, later gave her own reasons for wearing the hijab: ‘I wear my hijab because it is sacred to me….It displays my connection to my faith and God. When I have the hijab on, I act kinder and I am more aware of what I say and do. This is because not only am I representing myself, but I am representing a faith much bigger than me.’
Perhaps if the more unpleasant patrons of social media (and society) considered the woman wearing the hijab – not just their own opinion – before passing judgement, the internet would be a much better place.
As Lamyaa told Upworthy following then tweet’s spread: ‘Have a conversation with a Muslim. Many of us are willing to answer any questions and clear up any misconceptions. Muslims are not some separate group. We are a part of America. We are people.’
Sounds like sensible advice to us.