A text between a Muslim girl and her father has gone viral, amassing over 148,000 tweets and dispelling Islamophobic stereotypes that all Muslim women are oppressed because of their religion.
The text came from 17-year-old Lamyaa, who, like any teenager, is part of an active group chat with friends. She was texting with friends discussing US President Donald Trump’s views on Islam on Saturday from her home in Pennsylvania.
After she identified herself as a Muslim woman, someone in the group told her to “stop defending Islam bitch” saying that her dad would beat her if she tried to “take that scarf” off referring to her hijab.
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Lamyaa, instead of lashing out at the bully, tested out what her dad would say if she were to remove to hijab.
Her dad, who is living in Saudi Arabia, responded right away with the most loving message ever.
His words of support proved his daughter’s bully wrong: not all Muslim women are oppressed, and some women can and do choose to wear the hijab.
The father-daugther text has sparked a larger conversation on Twitter over the differences between culture and religion in women’s oppression.
"Women — in the Middle East specifically — face oppression but it is due to culture not religion," she told Buzzfeed. "People often mix the two and say the cultural practices are religious practices. That is far from the truth."
And others have continued the debate that was started in Lamyaa’s group text.
Support for Lamyaa and her dad’s response has been largely positive.
@lxmyaa Your dad is perfect and so are you 💙— Pats 5th 💙❤🏈 (@LorraineE_C) April 15, 2017
@lxmyaa I love your dad and I love you, thank you for share this and teach us about your religion and life! 💜💜— 15 (@THEATERAUHLAVON) April 16, 2017
@lxmyaa i hope every man speaks to his daughter like this and supports her in every decision she makes. fellas, take notes 📝— grandad (@khamaylee) April 15, 2017
Lamyaa was also careful to note that her experience does not speak for every Muslim woman.
“Yes, a lot of women are forced to wear the hijab. That’s horrible and I’ve 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 choose to wear the hijab, for myself and for god,” she said via Twitter.
Lamyaa then added that she will always stand up for others and it breaks her heart that not all women have freedom over their own bodies.
And for those wondering, no, she’s not taking off her hijab.