U.S. Military Members, Vets Pledge to Protect Scared 8-Year-Old Muslim Girl With Viral Hashtag


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Source: Melissa Cassini/Kerri Peek

Source: Melissa Cassini/Kerri Peek

When eight-year-old Sofia Yassini became terrified that she and her family would be deported because of Donald Trump’s plan to ban Muslims from America, American service members took a stand against the hateful rhetoric of the Republican frontrunner with a viral social media campaign.

Melissa Chance Yassini and daughter Sofia are American-Muslims. After Trump’s call to ban Muslim’s from the country, Yassini said her daughter became terrified someone would come to take them out of the country.


“She ran to me with a look of absolute fear on her face,” Yassini said in a statement to Upworthy.

“It was the first time that it really drove home to me that we’re in a dangerous place right now.”

Yassini went to Facebook to share that young Sofia was collecting “all her favorite things in case the army came to remove us from our home.”

Yassini added, “She checked the locks on the door three, four times. This is terrorism. No child in America deserves to feel that way.”

That was when American Army veteran Kerri Peek saw the post.

“It bothered me,” Peek told Upworthy. “This rhetoric and fear, hate and violence is not okay. It’s not the United States that I would fight for.”

I need your help my friends. Will you help me please?? I am asking all my friends in the Armed Forces, Active or…

Posted by Kerri Peek on Thursday, December 17, 2015

Peek then posted her own message, reaching out to her friends in uniform to help send a powerful message to young Sofia, her mother, and even the Republican presidential candidate who proposed the idea of banning a religious population from the land of the free.

“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 aoths to uphold and defend the Constitution.”

The hashtag has now gone viral on Facebook and Twitter, with other military service members and veterans pledging their support to not just Sofia and her mother, but to all people of the Muslim faith.

“The country I swore an oath to defend and give my life for accepts all,” wrote Darren Mott.

“Sofia, I spent 22yrs serving not just my country, but our country to protect our rights,” commented Julie T.

Ms. Yassini said she has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and that Sofia is starting to feel better and less fearful.

“I read each and every message to [Sofia],” Yassini told Upworthy.

“And now she understands that we’re all part of a fabric which is America.”


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