An exchange between a Muslim teenager in Pennsylvania and her father in Saudi Arabia has gone viral after it opened up an intimate window into the hijab debate. The teen, Lamyaa, was debating politics in a chat group when she was told by one stranger: "B---- shut up. You couldn't take that scarf off or your dad would beat your ass." Lamyaa tells the Daily Dot that she's actually used to messages like that—it "didn't really bother me, but I felt the need to prove him wrong." So Lamyaa texted her father, then took to Twitter to show their dialogue. He responds to her text that she is considering removing her hijab by saying, "Sweetheart that's not my decision to make." He adds that he'll support whatever she decides to do and asks, "Is everything OK? Did something happen?"
The exchange had been retweeted more than 148,000 times and liked more than 320,000 times as of Tuesday morning, but critics pointed out that some women don't have a choice when it comes to covering themselves, notes BuzzFeed. Lamyaa acknowledged this "horrible" reality but says it is cultures, not Islam, that oppress women. She says she has reached out to some of the women in this situation who have contacted her, offering to provide whatever support she can. "I have a dream that people won't be so judgmental of women and what they decide to do with their own bodies, whether it be the hijab or a bikini," she says. "That should be their choice to make, not anyone else's." (CoverGirl has featured a woman wearing a hijab.)