Culture

Latinos Are Here For Shaymaa Ismaa’eel, The Muslim Woman Who Smiled For Islamophobic Protestors

If you’ve been on Twitter lately, you’ve met Shaymaa Ismaa’eel, a 24-year-old woman, whose photos of her smiling in front of homophobic islamophobic protesters went viral. In the three days since she her tweet, the post has had over 310,000 likes and 85,000 retweet–the vast majority of which are positive and supportive.

Here’s the scoop and all the ways Latinos are showing their support.

“On April 21st I smiled in the face of bigotry and walked away feeling the greatest form of accomplishment.”

CREDIT: @shaymaadarling / Twitter

That’s it. That’s the caption for her viral post and it’s inspiring people everywhere.

Shaymaa was visiting Washington D.C. for the Islamic Circle of North America (INCA)’s annual convention.

CREDIT: @shaymaadarling / Twitter

The nonprofit organization is here to build a community for Muslim-Americans. Shaymaa remembers similar anti-Islam protesters were at the convention two years ago. When she first saw them, she was shocked, and later when she wanted to take a photo in front of them, they were gone.

But it’s 2019 and the Islamophobes are out of hiding questioning if she really did the thing.

CREDIT: @human_cookies / Twitter

Not only did Shaymaa get the chance to take this photo at this year’s convention, but haters don’t feel she’s trustworthy enough to believe the photos are real. This is the most polite hater we could find.

This led Shaymaa to post a follow up of her original tweet.

CREDIT: @shaymaadarling / Twitter

The ensuing thread is filled with people tweeting all caps #FAKENEWS. But we’re not going to talk about the very vocal minority of haters. We are here to talk about the people showing this young woman support and love.

Shaymaa spends her day job at a school working with children on the autism spectrum.

CREDIT: @shaymaadarling / Instagram

However, on weekends, she’s giving us lewks and bravery like no other. She told Teen Vogue, “Us youth, we need to actually see people who aren’t so apologetic, who aren’t so scared. It is hard to be Muslim in this day and time.”

She also let everyone know that she has to be confident in herself because her identity is visible at all time.

CREDIT: @shaymaadarling / Twitter

“I’m an African-American woman, so I can’t be white passing,” she tells Teen Vogue, “even if I take my hijab off — I still have struggles. You have to know your strength. A lot of youth need to understand that and just think about that a little bit.”

Latino Twitter came out strong for her story.

CREDIT: @CommunityUnity / Twitter

According to a 2007 report from Voice of America, the Latino-Muslim community is between 40,000 and 200,000 in the U.S. alone. Being Latino means being diverse and intersectional because we have an intersection of all faiths, all skin tones, and all genders in our community, and we get to stand with each other, for each other.

Folks are calling her an American hero.

CREDIT: @SergioAntonio / Twitter

Shaymaa told Teen Vogue that she knew “talking to someone like that is talking to a brick wall. You kind of can’t really do anything to combat it.”

It was also Easter Sunday the day the protesters arrived, which just adds layers to this story.

CREDIT: @CavScoutVeteran / Twitter

“We were wrapping up the second day of the convention and the first thing I saw was there they are,” Shaymaa tells Teen Vogue. “I showed my friend and she was like, ‘It’s Sunday. It’s Easter. Don’t they have something better to do?’ I was like, ‘Clearly, they need something from us.’”

“Kindness is a mark of faith. Those who aren’t kind have no faith.”

CREDIT: @Emma_Aurora_ / Twitter

She posted the same photo on Instagram with the above caption, and that also went viral. She has over 377,000 likes on the Instagram post proving that people want to see more love in this world.

“They were like, ‘Oh, yeah, you need to cover your face, too.’”

CREDIT: @its_carlos801 / Twitter

As she was walking away from taking the photo, she tells Teen Vogue that the protesters started to make fun of her. “And then someone was like, ‘You know it’s a cult when everyone’s walking around in pajamas.’ I was like, ‘Hmm, is he saying that because I’m wearing loose pants?’ I love sarcasm, so I was like, ‘Thank you for that.’”

The tables have turned because The Internet is now making fun of the protesters.

CREDIT: @adam_casto / Twitter

“I did not know that JC Penney sells draperies in denim,” writes one user. ????Several people started posting timed selfies of them mimicking that same posture.

Other folks thought he looked familiar.

CREDIT: @freemedusa / Twitter

Some were saying he’s a Westboro Baptist Church protester. Others thought he looked like their sleep paralysis demon.

Is sleep paralysis contagious?

CREDIT: @rosie_rosella / Twitter

Have you ever noticed that the people who hold those specific protest signs always look the same? Is it just one group that travels around the country protesting? Or do all Christian protest extremist look the same?

Lizy Rodriguez was over here revving up the inner mami in her.

CREDIT: @lizyrodriguezzz / Twitter

I mean… if rejoicing in Jesus’ resurrection looks like you making fun of a black woman in a hijab then you might be practicing a different religion than you think. Preach, Lizy.

Then there’s the obvious solution to this kind of bigotry.

CREDIT: @mapofsoulnicole / Twitter

Most Churches, Mosques, and Temples often work together to create multi-faith events. Islamophobia, like anti-Semitism, works off an assumption that an entire religion is a threat. That’s fake news.

Just like radical Islam makes a mockery out of the faith, this version of radical Christianity does the same.

CREDIT: @mzxzzz / Twitter

So like, do they see how they’re doing the exact same thing that they’re protesting against? ????

Islamophobia is a serious threat to our Muslim-American brothers and sisters.

CREDIT: @joepequenotv / Twitter

Hate crimes have escalated since Trump ran his campaign and enacted his Muslim Ban. Many Twitter user were scared for her–to simply be an African American woman in a hijab smiling.

“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.”

CREDIT: @jftaveira1993 / Twitter

Ultimately, Shaymaa’s message shines brighter than any blemish of bigotry. She told 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.”

And for all her positivity and freedom to just be, we thank you, Shaymaa.

CREDIT: @shaymaadarling / Twitter

So many of us can relate to kissing our loved out in front of homophobic protesters, smiling your brown face at the MAGA hat guy and overall just doing as our mama taught us by “killing with kindness”. Shaymaa, you are a shining, beautiful example of what it means to be American. Gracias.

READ: Latino Muslims Are Talking About Their Experience At The Intersection Of Latino And Muslim

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Sen. Ted Cruz Faces Backlash Over Insensitive Tweet About Thanksgiving And Covid

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Sen. Ted Cruz Faces Backlash Over Insensitive Tweet About Thanksgiving And Covid

Greg Nash-Pool / Getty Images

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas has been criticized for misleading the public on Covid. Last week, the Texan faced backlash after criticizing a Democratic senator for wearing a mask while inside the Senate. Covid cases are surging in all states with Texas among the worse, but Sen. Cruz will do anything to protect his Thanksgiving.

Sen. Ted Cruz is taking a big stand in the name of Covid community spread.

The week before Thanksgiving, Sen. Cruz posted a tweet implying his stance to gather for Thanksgiving. Health experts in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are urging Americans to avoid gatherings and traveling for the holiday season as cases spike to all-time highs.

“Right now, we’re alarmed, again, with the exponential increase in cases and hospitalists and death,” Dr. Henry Walke said in a press conference. “Amidst this critical phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, CDC is recommending against travel during the Thanksgiving period.”

The Republican politician is facing backlash for the insensitivity of the tweet.

Cases of the virus are surging as Americans tire of social distancing with no leadership or assistance from the federal government. Millions of Americans are being forced into renewed lockdown measures to prevent a post holiday surge as cases continue to climb. The U.S. has experienced an 18-day trend of more than 100,000 cases daily.

The U.S. needs to heed the science and experience in Canada. In October, Canadians gathered for Thanksgiving celebrations and it spelled disaster. Six weeks after the holiday, Canada broke Covid records and the country was faced with the worst of the outbreak.

The tweet is more upsetting to people from the senator’s homestate.

El Paso dealt with a devastating spike. The Texas county was hard hit as Covid surged leading to mobile morgues being packed with bodies of Covid victims. County officials were pleading with El Pasoans to do their part in making sure the virus doesn’t spread. Sen. Cruz’s tweet shows a lack of compassion for Texans suffering from the pandemic as Thanksgiving approaches.

Some Twitter users are pointing out Texas’ food crisis creating long lines for food banks.

Texas, which became the first state to record 1 million infections, has seen an increase in the need for food. According to CNN, The North Texas Food Bank (NTFB) gave out about 600,000 pounds of food for 25,000 people in the area. Millions are losing unemployment benefits after Covid and the lack of a federal response prompted mass layoffs across the nation in various industries, especially the hospitality industry.

We have to be vigilant as the holidays approach to protect our loved ones.

More than 250,000 people have died from Covid since the virus started to spread in the U.S. More than 12 million Americans have been diagnosed with the virus that Sen. Cruz dismisses. It is important to remember that you need to wear masks, social distance, and wash your hands to slow the virus’ spread. We are getting closer to a vaccine but we still have to put in the work to protect ourselves.

READ: Several California Politicians Go Against Covid Guidelines In Last Couple Weeks Sparking Outrage

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Trump Supporters March on Washington in ‘Million MAGA March’ to Protest Biden Win

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Trump Supporters March on Washington in ‘Million MAGA March’ to Protest Biden Win

Photo by Evelyn Hockstein/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

Over the weekend, thousands of Trump supporters took to the streets of Washington, D.C. to gather in what they dubbed the “Million MAGA March”. Protestors cheered as Trump’s motorcade drove by the crowds on his way to his golf course in Virginia.

The “MAGA March” Trump supporters gathered to protest what they believe is a “rigged” election.

They are united under the phrase “Stop the Steal,” which is inspired by the President’s assertations that the election was “stolen” through various nefarious methods. The “methods” Trump has alleged are massive voter fraud (untrue), faulty voting machines (untrue), and shady election workers (untrue).

Unfortunately, due to the sea of misinformation on the internet, these MAGA marchers are convinced that democracy has been thwarted. They don’t believe there is any way that Trump could have lost the election if the election was free and fair. No matter what evidence they are presented with, their world view remains the same: Trump was cheated.

According to reporters on the ground, dozens of members of the Proud Boys group were in attendance–the white nationalist group that Trump gave a shout-out to during the first presidential debate.

Also in attendance were QAnon conspiracy theorists, boogaloo boys, and Confederate sympathizers. And of course, there were just those who were there to support the president without being part of any far-right groups.

After nightfall, smatterings of violence broke out between the marchers and counter-protestors. According to The Washington Post, activists “spewed profanity and shouted threats, threw punches and launched bottles.” At least 20 people were arrested. According to The Post, at least one counter protestor was stabbed.

While the protestors (and Trump himself) boasted to the public that there were hundreds of thousands of attendees, the Washington D.C. park service estimates that less than 12,000 people were present. For comparison, roughly 470,000 people attended the 2017 Washington Women’s March after Trump was elected.

The diminutive size of the so-called “Million MAGA March” got more than a few laughs on the internet.

Once again, Twitter users got a kick out of Trump’s insistence that the crowds he draws are huge–when they’re usually pretty underwhelming.

Jokes abounded about the Trump’s counting skills–which seemed to have been failing him a lot lately.

Is it possible that he got his diploma at one of his defunct for-profit universities? That would explain his struggle identifying simple figures.

But this man made an astute observation about the amount of people there.

No matter how you count it, the numbers add up in the end.

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