Being a father is a constant battle. In an ever-changing world, with conflicting opinions about the ‘right thing to do’ constantly floating around you and people never short of advice to give, it’s a far-from-easy task.
But one Muslim dad is clearly Doing It Right given the response to an exchange with his daughter which has gone viral.
Lamyaa, a 17-year-old from Pennysylvania, USA, is sadly all too used to receiving harassment for being a Muslim – and things have only become worse for the teenager since Donald Trump was elected.
On 14 April, Lamyaa found herself targeted in a group chat when she the divisive topic of the US President was brought up.
“I personally had very strong views,” she told Buzzfeed. “[Especially] considering the presidency did impact me because I am an Arab Muslim woman.”
One member of the group chat, whom Lamyaa was not acquainted with, did not respond well to her opinions.
“Stop defending Islam, b**ch,” he wrote. “Shut up. You couldn’t take that scarf off or your dad would beat your ass.”
Lamyaa was, understandably, hurt by the comments.
However, rather than let them break her, she decided to prove the troll wrong.
She texted her father, who lives in Saudi Arabia, and told him that she was planning to take her hijab off.
And her father’s message rang loud and clear, shutting up the trolls once and for all.
The conversation read:
Lamyaa: Baba, I want to tell you something.
Lamyaa's father: Talk to me [asks her if she's OK in Arabic]
Lamyaa: Yeah I'm okay. I was thinking. I want to take my hijab off.
Lamyaa's father: Sweetheart that's not my decision to make. That's no man's decision to make. If it's what you feel like you want to do, go ahead. I'll support you no matter what. Is everything okay? Did something happen?
Lamyaa posted a screenshot of the conversation on Twitter with the caption: “Since this is a mentality a lot of you seem to have.”
It has since been retweeted nearly 150,000 times, with hundreds of people messaging Lamyaa their support and gratitude for expertly shattering stereotypes about Muslim men and women.
Speaking to Upworthy about the tweets, Lamyaa said: “People believe that Islam is misogynistic, hateful, or violent, and I think that stems from their inability to differentiate culture and religion. Islam is a religion and, like all religions, it is what you bring to it.”
She went on to add that while some women are forced to wear a hijab – and that this is, of course, a form of oppression – many women, like Lamyaa, choose to wear one for personal and empowering reasons.
“I wear my hijab because it is sacred to me,” she said. “It displays my connection to my faith and God. When I have the hijab on, I act kinder and I am more aware of what I say and do. This is because not only am I representing myself, but I am representing a faith much bigger than me.”
She offered the following advice: “Have a conversation with a Muslim. Many of us are willing to answer questions and clear up any misconceptions.
“Muslims are not some separate group. We are a part of America. We are people.”