World

BIRMINGHAM – A splendid photo of a Pakistani-British woman went viral over the internet over the weekend as she defied an EDL (English Defence League) protester in Birmingham with a smile on her face.


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The iron lady, Saffiyah Khan is half-Pakistani, half-Bosnian and was born in the UK but what made her a social media celebrity was a picture of her captured just at the moment when she was trying to defend a woman who was surrounded by 25 men at a protest held in Centenary Square on Saturday by the white supremacist group.

The picture that has been shared thousands of times shows an EDL protester ‘Ian Crossland’ staring into the eyes of the young woman, who is looking back at him unfazed.

When asked why Saffiyah got herself apparently in trouble by facing off the protester, she said that she was not part of an organised protest and had decided ‘to stay out of the way’, but changed her mind when another woman shouted ‘Islamophobe’ at EDL members.

‘She was 360 surrounded…[by] big-looking EDL lads,’ Saffiyah said.

Saffiyah Khan with the lady Saira whom she saved amid EDL protest

She maintained the EDL leader put his finger on her face but she stood her ground because she is not easily intimidated by anyone.

 ‘I didn’t feel threatened in the slightest way, though later the 25ish individuals who were circling [the woman in the blue headscarf] then came to circle me and the other individuals who had an issue with that situation’ she added.

The EDL demonstration attracted about 100 people and was condemned by the Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative leaders of Birmingham city council, who said the group was not and never would be welcome in their city.

The iconic moment was captured by  Press Association photographer Joe Giddens but Birmingham MP Jess Phillips threw weight behind the lady and wrote:  “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?”