'I smiled in the face of bigotry': A woman's response to anti-Islam protesters goes viral

Brett Molina

A Muslim woman's response to protesters at a conference in Washington, D.C., has gone viral.

Shaymaa Ismaa'eel, 24, was attending a conference for the nonprofit group Islamic Circle of North America when she spotted a group of Islamophobic protesters, reports CNN.

That's when Ismaa'eel decided to pose in front of them, smiling and holding up her fingers like a peace sign.

"On April 21st I smiled in the face of bigotry and walked away feeling the greatest form of accomplishment," she wrote in a tweet on April 23 accompanying the images, which has drawn more than 292,000 likes.

A similar post on Instagram published on April 21 has generated more than 273,000 likes.

In an interview with The Guardian, Ismaa'eel said she wanted to show protesters she could be "kind and unapologetic" about being Muslim.

"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," she told The Guardian.

Ismaa'eel said she's surprised at the reaction to her photo. "I'm a low-key person," she told CNN. "I'm still shook that it reached more that 200 likes at most. It's refreshing to see so many people supporting."

Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'I smiled in the face of bigotry': A woman's response to anti-Islam protesters goes viral