Veterans and active duty service members reassure Muslim Americans that they will fight to defend their rights as American citizens.
Military service members and veterans are using social media to reassure Muslim Americans in the wake of recent proposals from Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump to ban Muslims from entering the United States, to create a national registry for Muslims, and even to create a national I.D. system.
Melissa Chance Yassini, a Muslim American from Dallas, Texas, posted about her 8-year-old daughter Sophia’s reaction to Trump’s remarks on her Facebook account.
“Sad day in America when I have to comfort my 8 year old child who heard that someone with yellow hair named Trump wanted to kick all Muslims out of America,” she wrote, adding: “She had began collecting all her favorite things in a bag in case the army came to remove us from our homes. She checked the locks on the door 3-4 times. This is terrorism. No child in America deserves to feel that way.”
Horrified, she told ABC News: “I was up all night, it bothered me. I’m a mom, for mother to mother … I know you want to protect your children from everything.”
Peek told ABC that she was particularly disturbed by the fact that Sophia was afraid of soldiers coming to take her away from her home and sent a picture of herself in her Army uniform to Yassini along with a message: “Here’s a picture of me as a mom and soldier and I’ll come to protect you.”
Not yet satisfied, she also posted a call to service members and veterans to help her effort to let all American children know that they will be protected.
“I need your help my friends. Will you help me please?? I am asking all my friends in the Armed Forces, Active or Veterans to do me a HUGE favor,” she wrote.
“Due to hateful rhetoric, from presidential candidates and others, Muslim children are terrified that the Army will come and take them away,” she continued, adding:
When I read about Ms. Melissa Chance Yassini‘s post about her daughter, I posted my picture in the Army. I want these precious babies to know that we will not come and grab them out of their homes and hurt them and their families.
They are afraid of us!! We are the force that stands between precious children and the bad guys. So let’s start a hashtag campaign.
Will you help me? Post a picture of you in uniform with the hashtag #IWillProtectYou to let these children know that we will not hurt them. That they are safe here in America. That we will protect innocents as we always have and by added benefit keeping our oaths to uphold and defend the Constitution.
The hashtag has since gone viral with service men and women, active and veterans, posting photos and words of encouragement to Sophia and other Muslim children.
Peek told ABC News that she even heard from Yassini about Sofia’s reaction to the new viral hashtag. “She said she’s been reading the posts to her daughter and her daughter feels so much better knowing that she’s a part of America,” Peek said.
— Matthew Martin (@docmartin22) December 20, 2015
— jp thompson (@j_p_thompson) December 19, 2015
— Elizabeth April (@Cinders09051984) December 19, 2015