Aussies Unite to Defend Muslim Lawyer from Islamophobic Trolls

Maryam Veiszadeh has been targeted by racist right-wingers for tweeting a photo of an anti-immigrant shirt.

It’s a story as old as the internet: unassuming woman voices concern about a racist, classist, or sexist slight, and a bunch of angry, chauvinistic assholes harass her until the spittle from their angry, frothing mouths dries up. Last October, a Muslim Australian lawyer named Mariam Veiszadeh posted a photo of an anti-immigrant tank top she found being sold at Woolworth’s, an Australian grocery store chain. The shirt read, “If you don’t love it here, leave.” She tweeted, “Pls RT@woolworths I'm outraged that #WOOLWORTHS are allegedly selling these bigoted singlets at their Cairns stores.”

Image via Twitter user Mariam Veiszadeh.

Over the course of several months, Veizadeh has recieved angry, violent, and hateful tweets from Australian right-wingers. According to the BBC, many of the threats were coming by way of the Australian Defense League, which had reportedly posted the tweet to their Facebook page. An American white supremacist blog, The Daily Stormer, also joined in to the bigoted chorus and rallied their frenzied readers against Veiszadeh. Last week, the Daily Stormer posted photoshopped images of Zeiszadeh being stoned to death and clutching a pig to her chest. They asked their readers to tweet them to her, hashtagged with the words #SandN*ggerWhore and #BacktoAfghanistan.

But Veiszadeh started fighting back: first, by asking her followers to block the trolls harassing her. Second, by using the hashtag: #IStandWithMariam. Veiszadeh helmed the campaign herself. And her Aussie followers responded positively, reporting the troll accounts for abuse and condemning the threats she was recieving from right-wingers and nativists. Her followers not only helped her drown out the vitriol in her Twitter timeline, they also helped shut down the Facebook page of the Australia Defense League.

Veiszadeh is the founder of the Islamophobia Register Australia, an organization that records hate crimes against Muslims in Australia. She’s also an ambassador for Welcome to Australia, which advocates for asylum seekers, refugees, new arrivals, and migrant residents of Australia. The Daily Stormer and the ADL’s biggest mistake was targetting someone who’s spent much of her young life working for marginalized groups.

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