<Smile> Sister Saffiyah Khan faces off against Ian Crossland, a fascist from the English Defense League. She smiles at his intolerance with the grace of someone who knows that she is standing on the right side of History. When the EDL seemed to gather around Saira Zafar who wears a hijab, Saffiyah stepped in.
Later Crossland wrote, 'she’s lucky she’s got any teeth left'. This is the character of the fascist.
Khan's parents are Pakistani and Bosnian. She had previously been chanting, 'Nazi scum off the streets'. Later she said, 'How is it that I’m smiling? Sometimes it’s more important to smile than to shout - and I did a fair bit of shouting, I’m under no delusion of that - but it’s a more powerful message a lot of the time'.
Later, Saffiyah and Saira met for a conversation. Saffiyah is wearing a Free Gaza shirt in this video.
During the protest, Saffiyah had on a t-shirt from The Specials, whose first album in 1979 was a rebuke against racism and against Thatcher's ascendancy. Seems that The Specials have now offered Saffiyah tickets to their next show. As a taste of their music, here is their hit from that album - A Message to You Rudy. It captures the flavour of polycultural Britain.
Fascism wilts before the determined smile.