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

From Too Much Spit To Not Enough Heat, Latinas Dropped Truths On What It Was Like To Have Their First Kisses

Culture

From Too Much Spit To Not Enough Heat, Latinas Dropped Truths On What It Was Like To Have Their First Kisses

GreenPimp | Getty Images

It’s the Summer and lately, we’ve been feeling a little romantic. It has us thinking about the sweltering heat, moonlit nights and someone special to spend it with. All this romantic energy has made us kinda nostalgic about our own love lives and those moments that made them memorable. Whether our first kiss was fun and casual or with the loves of our lives, they’re a part of who we are now. To celebrate these smooches, we asked Latinas to tell us about their first kiss.

Here’s what they had to say about these monumental first.

The kiss that was packed with a lot of peer pressure.

Teen Vogue

“For my first kiss, I was about 8 years old lol. My older cousin made me kiss a little boy while visiting our abuelo in Mexico. The little boy lived next door to my abuelo.

I apparently wasn’t ready to have my first kiss because I was super shy and I didn’t have a crush on the boy, I just felt a little pressured because my cousin was like, “Kiss him, kiss him.” So me and the little boy kissed in front of my cousin and his brother.

It was a little peck, but at that age it felt like I did something horrible. I remember later seeing my parents and going up to them and telling them right away that I kissed a boy because I felt so guilty. They told me that I was too young to be doing that. I, of course, didn’t rat out my cousin for pressuring me into it, but blamed myself more.

Eight years old… yup that’s way too young. Funny first kiss though lol. Now everytime I go visit my abuelo in Mexico, I look at the front of the house where I kissed the little boy and just laugh. ” — Jenny, Los Angeles

The kiss that started it all.

Girl’s Life

“I had my first kiss when I was 16 and it honestly felt like it would never come. I had a flirtation with a boy in my Algebra class so — on a whim — I invited him to a game night sponsored by one of our school’s clubs.

During the evening, he and I decided to take a walk together. It was nice but he kept stopping and staring at me. I’d later find out he was working up the nerve to kiss me but at the time I was a wreck! We didn’t kiss that night but I invited him to my house the following day. 

We were upstairs sitting side by side on the family room couch. It was so peaceful with just the two of us. Suddenly, my mom called us downstairs and totally ruined the mood! When we sat up, we turned to each other and both leaned in.

We kissed three times before nervously heading downstairs. I was totally in love! Seventeen years later, we’re married with three kids. I think my first kiss came exactly when it was meant to.” — Samantha, Houston

The kiss that was a playdate peck.

DailyMail

“I was 5 years old and he was my best friend. He was the son of my mom’s best friend, actually, and we were inseparable as little kids. One day, we were reading Sleeping Beauty and, in the end, they kiss and the princess wakes up. I don’t remember which one of us said it but we got the idea to try it. And we did!” — Irina

The kiss that was practice for the real thing.

Seventeen Magazine

“My first kiss was actually with a girl. My best friend and I had grown up together since we were 7 years old.

Because both of our parents worked we spent a lot of time over at each others houses being ‘watched’ by our older siblings or baby sisters. Most of the time that including the older caretakers flipping on the TV and having us watch it while it watched us for them. So, many of our hours in the summer were spent watching tv shows and movies that were romantic in nature.

When we 13 years old we watched ‘Wild Things’ and realized that we could practice for our first kisses on each other. TBH it was a sweet, non-sexual exchange between friends. And we still are to this day.” —Ana, Brooklyn

The kiss that was twenty years in the making.

Dailyhunt

“I had a crush on this boy for years in grade school who I had known since we were four. I was a very late bloomer when it came to sexual experiences because I grew up in a very sheltered household. So, by the time I was in college and 20 years old I was pretty convinced it would never happen to me.

Finally, I went out to a party with friends and saw my former crush from elementary school. We caught each other early on in the night and later in the evening after a few drinks saw each other again. While we were catching up outside of the party he kissed me.

It was such a relief at the time, but pretty heartbreaking later when I realized most people in college just go around kissing people for fun and it doesn’t mean anything! Haha!” — Gabby, Texas

The kiss that never should have happened.

VeryWellMind.com

“My first kiss was from an uncle who was a complete pervert. I don’t really like to talk about it and normally when people ask me this question I just say that it was from the second person who ever kissed me.” —Anonymous

The kiss that exceeded all the hype.

Mid-day.com

“I think by the time I got around to getting my first kiss, so many of my friends had assured me that it was no big deal, and it would be nothing special. I think that that’s why when it finally came around it felt truly special and intimate.

At the time, I was in a church group during the summer when I was 15 and had liked a boy in my class called Mateo. He told my friends during a break that he wanted to kiss me one week and I had been so scared, even though I liked him, that I just avoided him. My heart would beat so fast every time we were around each other.

Finally after what felt like years but was probably just a couple of weeks I told him that I liked him and wanted to kiss him too. He kissed me outside under a tree. It was very sweet.” — Veronica, Chicago

[PHOTOS] Check Out This List Of The 10 Steamiest Telenovela Kisses And Tell Us You Can’t Feel The Passion

Entertainment

[PHOTOS] Check Out This List Of The 10 Steamiest Telenovela Kisses And Tell Us You Can’t Feel The Passion

Televisa / PandoraRosalez / YouTube

There’s no question that Latinos are responsible for some of the steamiest kisses in television history. The makings of a steamy kiss don’t solely rely on the actors themselves, however. Telenovelas give us all the scandal and suspense that makes the inevitable kiss that much more satisfying.

Whether the couple has loathed each other from the beginning, or that they had been separated because of an evil twin, or that he’s just trying to seduce her to find out who killed his half-brother–context is key. Here’s mitú’s ranking for the steamiest kissed and why.

1. Teresa and Santiago from “La Reina del Sur”

PandoraRosalez / YouTube

Kate del Castillo and Iván Sanchez might be responsible for the Top 3 steamiest kiss scenes in telenovela history. Remember when Santiago lifted Teresa up like nothing? The passion is almost too good to be fake.

2. It’s still #Santeresa from “La Reina del Sur.”

PandoraRosalez / YouTube

They’re literally selling and dealing drugs and getting away with it the sexiest way possible. Teresa saw Santiago in the water and ran to him, where they made out in some pretty choppy water. Then, it cut to this sensual scene, which concludes all the reasoning we need for their second place win.

3. We warned you. #Santeresa again.

PandoraRosalez / YouTube

Kate del Castillo cannot be denied all three awards. The passion is so incredible, they turned this scene which included a mop in the corner, into what seems like the perfect setting for amor.

4. Julianita from “Amar a Muerte”

@JuliantinaIIs / Twitter

When Juliana (Bárbara López) and Valentina (Macarena Achaga) first meet, we all felt the heat rising. As magical as their first kiss in the pool was, their make-out game just kept getting stronger as the season progressed. Their love is so steamy, we’re expecting a spinoff novela this year!

5. Isabel and Pedro José from “El Cuerpo del Deseo”

neurea2 / YouTube

How can anyone forget Isabel and Pedro José’s love-making in the rain? Latinos were confused by “The Notebook” reception after we saw these two strip naked for all of us to see. Brava.

6. Demetrio and Verónica from “La Mentira”

AnaMarisela / YouTube

It’s Kate del Castillo again, but this time, she’s being seduced by Demetrio (Guy Ecker), who’s only using her to get to the truth of who killed his half-brother. The rest of us watching can tell that he’s starting to develop feelings–or are we being duped by the passion too?

7. Bianca and Bruno from “Apunto de Hacer el Amor”

Teresa1444 / YouTube

Their first kiss is iconic. Bruno gains Bianca’s forgiveness and immediately goes in for the kiss. Bianca is forgiving as her mama taught her but she certainly didn’t forget so easily. That kiss is disrupted with a good hard smack to Bruno’s eager face.

8. Rosalinda and Fernando José from “Rosalinda”

AlexanderGalvan / YouTube

There’s nothing like Thalía and Fernando Carrillo’s kisses on the set of “Rosalinda,” the most watched telenovela in the world. When Rosalinda and Fernando José rekindle their romance after the evil mother-in-law’s meddling, Rosalinda’s amnesia and mental breakdown–the sparks fly.

9. Jade and Lucas from “El Clon”

TurskeSpanskeSerije / YouTube

This is basically the Romeo and Juliet love story of our generation. Jade (Giovanna Antonelli) is Muslim and Lucas (Murilo Benício) is from a rich Brazilian Christian family. Their families would never accept their love, which is what makes their secret kisses so magical.

10. Gabriela and Alejandro from “La Patrona”

RimonaShalev / YouTube

Gabriela (Aracely Arámbula) is the only woman working in the gold mine and a single mom at that. She spends so much of the novela schooling her sexist coworkers that when she falls in love with Alejandro (Jorge Luis Pila), the contrast is so tender and beautiful. He loves her! He really loves her!

READ: LGBTQ+ Community And Allies Stage Kiss-A-Thon For Equal Rights At High-End Mall In Colombia

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