Astonishing, isn’t it? A Muslim woman from Australia is turning the hostility of Internet haters into a “force for good”. She does that one hate-filled tweet at a time and by helping many children in need.
“I felt I should be actively generating good in the world for every ugly verbal bullet sent my way.”
Dr. Susan Carland is an academic and respected figure in the country’s Muslim community. As she said, she’s become all too accustomed to the “stream of toxicity” that deluges her Twitter feed on a daily basis. But instead of replying to the internet trolls in the same way she says.
“As “an unapologetic Muslim woman, you get a lot of hate.”
“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,” wrote Susan in an op-ed for the Sydney Morning Herald.
“Their online abuse ranges from requests to leave Australia, hope for my death, insults about my appearance (with a special focus on my hijab), accusations that I am a stealth jihadist, and that I am planning to take over the nation, one halal meat pie at a time.”
She tried different ways to deal with these trolls. She tried to engage with them. Sometimes she blocked them or just simply ignore them. But as a believer of Islam, these methods just haven’t felt right, she said.
“None of them felt like I was embodying the Koranic injunction of driving off darkness with light,” she wrote in the op-ed. “I felt I should be actively generating good in the world for every ugly verbal bullet sent my way.”
This is how Susan came up with a unique idea: For every hate-filled tweet she received, she would donate one Australian dollar to UNICEF.
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
Susan Carland teaches at Melbourne’s Monash University and is married to talk-show host Waleed Aly. She explained she chose to give to UNICEF for a very specific reason.
“I particularly liked the idea of giving to UNICEF, as so often they were assisting children who were in horrific situations that were the direct outcome of hate — war, poverty due to greed, injustice, violence. These children seemed like the natural recipients for the antidote to hate,” she said.
Both the American and Australian UNICEF took to Twitter to thank her.
@SusanCarland Thanks for your support! You’ve turned hate into something wonderful: education, health care and protection for kids.
— UNICEF Australia (@unicefaustralia) November 12, 2015
— UNICEF USA (@unicefusa) November 12, 2015
In 2009 she was named one of the 500 most influential Muslims in the world by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center.
— Victoria Craw (@victoria_craw) November 12, 2015