Pictures of Saffiyah Khan, a young woman from Birmingham, staring down a leader of the far-right English Defence League (EDL) during a march on Saturday are being circulated on the internet, with many hailing the Khan as their “hero”.
Khan was at a march in Birmingham to oppose the EDL and said she stepped forward when she saw around 25 men surround a woman in a headscarf.
She told the BBC that the woman “was 360 surrounded... I stepped forward and identified myself as someone who supported her and contradicted them”. Pictures show Khan nonchalantly sizing up Ian Crossland, an EDL leader.
Twitter was absolutely delighted with her reaction.
Who looks like they have power here, the real Brummy on the left or the EDL who migrated for the day to our city and failed to assimilate pic.twitter.com/bu96ALQsOL— Jess Phillips MP (@jessphillips) April 8, 2017
So much love for this. Second photo of Saffiyah Khan staring down the EDL with a smile is even better. Solidarity, sister 👊👊👊👊✊✊✊✊ pic.twitter.com/jbz9ZmXWWQ— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) April 9, 2017
Everyone loving the beatific face of Saffiyah Khan staring down the EDL guy today pic.twitter.com/pAvT79xRnn— Jeremy Vine (@theJeremyVine) April 9, 2017
Some nasty reactions were reported as one might expect:
Some 'brave' guys on twitter talking abt how they want to hurt Saffiyah Khan. For smiling. Ffs— Avril E. Russell (@frontierwoman) April 9, 2017
But there’s little doubt about widespread admiration for Saffiyah:
I'd much rather have Saffiyah Khan fighting for me than ranty EDL 'leader' Ian Crossland. She is a credit to Britain pic.twitter.com/uBreZyZm4d— Will Black (@WillBlackWriter) April 9, 2017
Saffiyah Khan stands up to EDL fascists with a smile. Great example that you don't need to fight hate with hate 😀 https://t.co/pMUUte4BrW— Parveen Agnihotri (@Parveen_Comms) April 9, 2017
Saffiyah Khan is my hero. pic.twitter.com/kLH5VPEXq6— Sam Clear (@SamClear1) April 9, 2017