AUSTIN, Texas – Standing out in a moment of unexpected connection and bravery in a bitterly divided America, a US Muslim hijabi woman was praised as a “hero” after she shielded Trump’s supporter in the face of angry protesters.
“I do not stand for what he stands for,” a shaking and tearful Amina Amdeen, 19, said of Weidknecht minutes after the incident, My Statesman reported on Tuesday, November 15.
“But I know his fears and concerns are valid. I love this country so much, and I don’t like what I see coming. We are not being civil to each other.”
Amdeen, a Muslim woman and Iraqi immigrant wearing a hijab, was standing when a peaceful pro-Trump protest marched in Austin.
As the march broke out into violence, she threw herself in between her fellow protesters and a towering, impassive supporter of Donald Trump.
At the end of a march near the Capitol, Amdeen and that advocate for Trump, construction worker Joseph Weidknecht, hugged each other in respect despite their differences.
He called her a “hero of this night.”
In a city that voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton, Weidknecht, a union sheet-metal worker, and a handful of other Trump advocates kicked off their pro-Trump march on Sunday,
Weidknecht, 24, wore a red “Make America Great” cap and carried two signs, one of them saying, “Proud to be Deplorable.” His group was still there when the march returned.
As violence erupted, Amdeen, at least a foot shorter than Weidknecht, squeezed in between him and the other protesters, imploring the protesters to stand down.
“She stood there like a mountain trying to stop the violence,” Weidknecht said Monday of Amdeen.
Amdeen, a University of Texas student in international relations who moved from Baghdad to Austin with her parents when she was 10, said Monday that the resistance to Trump must be nonviolent.
“Our job now is to make our emotional pain visible,” she said, “so we can gain the sympathies of whoever voted for Trump because they were tired of the economic situation and didn’t think about how they were affecting minorities. … I put my arm around him just to make it very, very clear I was here to protect his right to speak, and his bravery to be there as a Trump supporter.
“The most radical thing you can do is embrace the people who are perceived to be your enemies. … We can’t let this escalate into a war between two parts of America.”