It was the photo that was tweeted around the world. At a protest at the city centre in United Kingdom’s Birmingham, young Saffiyah Khan had only one response to an angry protestor belonging to the far-right English Defence League: a sparkling smile.
There were more than a few references to the recent advertisement for Pepsi, in a similar setting, that the company had to withdraw.
In the video above, Khan speaks about the experience. “Sometimes, it’s more powerful to smile than too shout,” she says. It was later revealed that Khan had stepped in to protect another woman, who, she says, was surrounded by protestors from all sides. Khan finally met the woman, named Saira Zafar, on Monday.
“I just want to say thanks a lot for your help and for stepping forward and supporting me in that situation,” says Zafar in the video below. “It did really mean a lot. And together we defeated the EDL, I would say, at that rally.”
On Facebook, EDL members alleged that Zafar had disrupted a minute’s silence at a rally marking respect for victims of terrorism. In the video above, Khan states otherwise and a former leader of the EDL too seems to support her.