PENNSYLVANIA – “‘If it’s what you feel like you want to do, go ahead. I’ll support you no matter what. Is everything ok? Did something happen?”
That was the answer of the wise father of Lamyaa, the Muslim teenager who was abused by an Islamophobic text, to her message saying she will take off her hijab.
The 17-year-old girl from Pennsylvania, US, turned to her father after a friend of her friend sent her an Islamophobic remark on a chat group after a political debate.
She told BuzzFeed she is a member of a group chat that includes some people she doesn’t know, and the divisive topic of Donald Trump’s treatment of Muslims was brought up.
“I personally had very strong views considering the presidency did impact me because I am an Arab, Muslim woman,” she explained.
The offender abused her, Islam and slurred at her headscarf, pressuring the young girl psychologically and leading her to consider taking off her veil.
Therefore, Lamyaa texted her father, who is currently living in Saudi Arabia, to find out that his response couldn’t have been more heartwarming.
When she said she wanted to tell him something, he replied “talk to me” and “are you ok, my love?” in Arabic. Lamyaa told him she was thinking about taking her hijab off, and her dad replied: “Sweetheart that’s not my decision to make. That’s no man’s decision to make.”
She told Fusion.net that she then posted the two screenshots side-by-side on Twitter.
“The person who made the original ignorant comment didn’t respond to the screenshots of the messages with dad,” she informed.
Her tweet, captioned by “Since this is a mentality a lot of you seem to have”, was retweeted nearly 150,000 times and got more than 134,000 likes.
Lamyaa told BuzzFeed: “Women — in the Middle East specifically — face oppression but it is due to culture not religion. People often mix the two and say the cultural practices are religious practices. That is far from the truth.” And she clearly stated on her Twitter that no way she will remove her headscarf.
In a follow-up tweet for her responding to another commenter, she said: “Yes, a lot of women are forced to where the hijab. That’s horrible and I have [been] one to point that out numerous times. That oppression however isn’t what the hijab symbolizes, it’s not why women wear it. I personally chose to wear the hijab, for myself and for god.”