A PHOTO of a smiling woman in hijab wearing a peace sign in front of anti-Muslim protesters is going viral.
Shaymaa Ismaa’eel, 24, was attending the Islamic Circle of North America convention in Washington, D.C. over the weekend when she came across a group of anti-Muslim protesters holding signs against Islam.
In response, she crouched in front of them and flashed a peace sign.
Ismaa’eel, who works as a therapist with children on the autism spectrum, posted the resulting photo on her Instagram page along with a quote from Prophet Muhammad reading: “Kindness is a mark of faith. Those who aren’t kind have no faith.”
“I wanted them to see the smile on my face, and see how happy I was to be me and walk around being a Muslim woman,” she was quoted as saying by the Guardian. “I wanted to show them that we are going to remain kind and unapologetic, and continue to spread love in the face of bigotry.”
Ismaa’eel said she first spotted them on Saturday, but she walked past them without stopping. She saw them again the next day.
“My face lit up when I saw them again, because I wanted them to see my joy,” she said. “I just wish they could hear all the love being spread inside the conference instead of protesting outside.”
The Islamic Circle of North America convention is an annual conference aimed at promoting Islam in the US.