Twitter Loves This Photograph Of A Woman Standing In Defiance In The Face Of An EDL Member

Saffiyah Khan speaks out about the photo that *actually* makes us proud to be British


As we know, extremism breeds extremism. And in the wake of the tragic Westminster attacks, the EDL (English Defence League) has been enjoying a resurgence.

The EDL is an 'anti-jihadist' movement that hopes to end terrorism through rallies and marches, though many people accuse them of racist and thuggish behaviour.

They have been having rallies in the last two weekends, according to the Independent, in Birmingham, and the city totally out-patrioted them.


This weekend at Birmingham's central mosque, a whole load of other people took to the streets to protest against the EDL rally, to prove that there are other ways to combat terrorism - like acceptance, inclusion and celebrating everybody's differences.

These people had a 'Best of British' tea party, and proved normalcy and a good attitude always win when people seek to divide.

When Saffiyah Khan stood, looking quite bemused in front of EDL leader Ian Crossland, everyone absolutely loved it.

Saffiyah Khan being confronted by Ian Crossland

Birmingham's Labour MP Jess Philips posted this photo with the most on-point caption ever.


She said, '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.'

Twitter ran with it, and couldn't get enough of the snaps, taken by Joe Giddens, of Saffiyah with her hands in her pockets, looking positively relaxed as Crossland shouts in her face.



And lovely Ian (he really looks like a treat, doesn't he?) even gave his side of the story on his Facebook page.


He explained that she disrupted a minute of silence they were holding for the victims of recent terror attacks so he confronted her, saying, 'She's lucky she's got any teeth left'.

Saffiyah herself has a different version of the story, which she explained to the Birmingham Mail.

The reason I was there was because I am a Brummie. This was happening in Birmingham and it felt right. I am not a political activist. I wasn't in a confrontational role, I wanted to keep a low profile. I was there with a few friends to look after people - because Muslims and people of colour are often abused. Nothing was really happening until a woman in a headscarf started shouting 'racist'. About 20 to 25 EDL people ran over and surrounded her. She looked absolutely terrified. I still hung back and waited for the police to sort it out. I waited two or three minutes and but the police did nothing, so I decided to go and try and get her out of there. It all happened very quickly. She left, but then I was identified as anti-fascist. The group turned on me. Ian Crossland was poking his finger in my face, but I just stood there. I didn't do anything, I wasn't interested, that wasn't my intention. I couldn't understand what was being said though to be honest, it was all very mumbled. But I wasn't scared in the slightest. I stay pretty calm in these situations. I knew they were trying to provoke me, but I wasn't going to be provoked. I was just holding out. Then I was just pulled out of there, I wasn't arrested or charged. I have lost my anonymity because of the picture, but on balance it was worth it. I have probably been profiled by them now and I have to take one for the team. I didn't realise how many people would be so supportive, so it was worth it.

Saffiyah also spoke to BBC and told them:

Sometimes it's more important to smile than to shout, and I did a fair amount of shouting, I'm under no delusion of that, but it's a more powerful message a lot of the time. His aggression can be seen through the picture. I didn't say very much to him and I can't exactly remember what he was saying to me but I think the picture afterwards sums it up because his finger's in my face. It wasn't a pleasant interaction. The fact of the matter is, and video evidence shows it as well, there wasn't a minute;s silence while I was there, it;s an attempt at smearing because the situation is in my favour. Very unintentionally, it became a very, very powerful picture and it's been a strange experience for it to go viral. It instills a hope about communities and the power of people who oppose EDL. When you see a girl who's quite young getting involved with things like this, more people are willing to help and support.

Saffiyah was there to protect others, and in the face of aggression, she kept her cool and did the most annoying thing you can do to someone trying to disrupt your life; she smiled. We all need to be a bit more Saffiyah.

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