Twitter is fertile ground for trolls and haters, who can harass their targets 140 characters at a time. But one Muslim woman is transforming the Islamophobia she regularly faces into a force for good: she donates $1 for every hateful tweet she receives to Unicef Australia, a program that provides humanitarian assistance to children and mothers in developing countries. She has already raised more than $1,000.
Susan Carland, 34, is a sociologist who teaches at Monash University in Melbourne. She and her husband Waleed Aly, who is a lawyer and talk-show host, have been dubbed “Australia’s Muslim power couple.” But critics have also assailed Carland as a “terrorist sympathizer,” reports the Daily Mail. She has even been called an “ignorant, maggot-brained, raghead defending idiot.”
I donate $1 to @UNICEF for each hate-filled tweet I get from trolls. Nearly at $1000 in donations. The needy children thank you, haters! _
— Susan Carland (@SusanCarland) October 21, 2015
But she says it doesn’t faze her.
“I regularly get tweets and Facebook messages from the brave freedom fighters behind determinedly anonymous accounts telling me that, as a Muslim woman, I love oppression, murder, war, and sexism,” Carland wrote in an op-ed on Friday for The Age, Melbourne’s daily newspaper.
Instead of returning hateful tweets and Facebook messages with more of the same, she decided to donate $1 to Unicef for each nasty attack in an attempt to help children “who were in horrific situations that were the direct outcome of hate -- war, poverty due to greed, injustice, violence.”
Thankyou for kindness, everyone (& shout out to haters who still can't help themselves _).Overwhelmed by tweets.Donate to @unicefaustralia !
— Susan Carland (@SusanCarland) November 12, 2015
Carland says the idea behind her campaign stems from Islamic teaching itself: “The Quran states ‘Good and evil are not equal. Repel evil with what is better.’ I'd tried blocking, muting, engaging and ignoring, but none of them felt like I was embodying the Quranic injunction of driving off darkness with light. I felt I should be actively generating good in the world for every ugly verbal bullet sent my way.”
Carland, who was born in Melbourne as a Baptist Christian, began to explore her spirituality at the age of 17 and converted to Islam when she was 19.
— Susan Carland (@SusanCarland) November 10, 2015