Seventeen-year-old Lamyaa was having a political debate with friends in a private group chat when the topic of President Donald Trump’s treatment of Muslims came up. A friend of a friend brutally called out the outspoken Pennsylvania teen for defending her religion after she questioned Trump’s views on Islam. Disgusted, Lamyaa took screenshots of this individual’s message and shared it on Twitter.
“Stop defending Islam, b****,” the message stated. “Shut up, you couldn’t take that scarf off or your dad would beat your a**.”
Instead of arguing with the individual, she proved his theory wrong by texting her father and telling him she wanted to remove her hijab — his reaction was nothing but supportive. She shared the exchange on Twitter:
“Baba, I want to to tell you something,” she wrote to her father, who lives in Saudi Arabia.
“Talk to me.”
“I want to take my hijab off,” she stated.
“Sweetheart, that’s not my decision to make,” he responded. “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.”
Since this is a mentality a lot of you seem to have pic.twitter.com/CQn5L8zibS
— l a m y a a (@lxmyaa) April 15, 2017
She shared the exchange online to demonstrate the mentality that some people may have toward Muslim women who wear hijabs. The post has since gone viral, generating nearly 150,000 retweets and 322,000 likes in less than four days.
Although Lamyaa wasn’t planning on taking off her hijab in the first place — she texted her dad to prove a point and to clear up any misconceptions of what the hijab symbolizes — most of the comments were very supportive, with many people encouraging the teen not to take off her hijab.
“Don’t take it off babe,” one user wrote.
“I love your dad and I love you, thank you for sharing this and teaching us about your religion and life,” another user stated.
@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
Still, many felt Lamyaa’s position was misrepresented, that it didn’t exemplify what other Muslim women who wear hijabs would go through if they decided not to wear the hijab.
“Asking genuinely,” one user asked. “Does it concern you the amount of female Muslims globally that don’t feel like they can do this? Or is it misrepresented?”
— Anal Fischer Price (@TheRealPiss) April 15, 2017
Lamyaa stated that yes, a lot of women are forced to wear the hijab, but oppression isn’t what the hijab symbolizes and it’s not why women wear it.
“I personally chose to wear the hijab, for myself and for God,” she wrote. “I do not speak for other women. I do not represent anyone buy myself. However, I will always stand up for others…”