One young woman gained instant fame over the weekend after an unbelievable photo went viral on the internet.
During a far-right English Defence League (EDL) demonstration in Birmingham city centre on Saturday, one woman was snapped defiantly staring bemusedly at an angered protestor. The woman who has been identified as Saffiyah Khan seems unfazed by the aggresive-seeming man wearing an EDL polo shirt who is squaring up to her, being restrained by a police officer.
Saffiyah Khan is my hero. pic.twitter.com/kLH5VPEXq6
— Sam Clear (@SamClear1) April 9, 2017
— Jack Wild (@LabourJW86) April 9, 2017
— Dan Thompson (@artistsmakers) April 9, 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
Khan who was born in the UK and is half-Pakistani and half-Bosnian told the BBC that the conflict came about as she attempted to intervene as a group of around 25 ‘quite big-looking EDL lads’ were abusing a woman wearing a hijab. “I don’t like seeing people getting ganged up on in my town,” she said as she confirmed she wasn’t part of an organised counter-protest, but instead just a bypasser.
Khan also told the Mirror that the protestor had been “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.” She added, “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.”
She added, “He put his finger in my face. It was very aggressive. A police officer was there and the man took his finger out of my face. I wouldn’t have responded violently.”
The EDL have since claimed Ms Khan had been part of a group of people who had interrupted a minute’s silence for the victims of the Stockholm terror attack.
The image was taken by Press Association photographer Joe Giddens and attracted comments widely including by MP for Birmingham Yardley Jess Phillips and Piers Morgan.
Jess Phillips tweeted the photo saying, “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.” Since posting on Saturday her tweet has been liked and retweeted a combined nearly thirty thousand times.
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
Controversial journalist and host of ITV’s Good Morning Britain Piers Morgan dubbed it ‘Photo of the week’.
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) April 8, 2017
According to Police, the rally attracted around 100 supporters, and passed without any significant disorder.
Prior to the demonstration Birmingham City Council urged people to continue with their Saturday’s as usual despite the planned protest. A statement on behalf of the city council’s party group leaders John Clancy, Robert Alden and Jon Hunt read, “The English Defence League is not welcome in Birmingham. They will never be welcome in Birmingham.”