This is great and terrible at the same time.

Melissa Yassini and her 8-year-old daughter, Sofia, spend some time every evening reading messages from the thousands of people who have told Sofia not to be afraid just because she’s Muslim.

Sofia’s story of terror that she would be forced to leave America inspired a social media campaign with a hashtag, “#IWillProtectYou,” that has generated posts from soldiers, veterans and others supporting her.

“A lot of them, they call her out by name,” Melissa Yassini said on Wednesday. “That’s very important to her.”

Melissa Yassini originally shared her daughter’s response to Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump calling for a ban all Muslim immigration into the United States.

Sofia heard about Trump’s proposal while the family was watching the evening news. While Trump has said he isn’t targeting American Muslims, her mother said Sofia didn’t make that distinction.

She packed a bag with Barbie dolls, a tub of peanut butter and a toothbrush. And she checked the locks of her family’s home because she thought soldiers were coming to take her away.


Yassini said her daughter is less afraid, but still nervous. She blamed Trump’s comments about Muslims – which also include suggestions that he would require Muslims to register with the federal government or carry identification cards – for driving anti-Islamic sentiment.

“Trump’s words don’t just end at what he says on that podium,” she said. “It’s far more reaching than that. When he goes on and says these things, it almost legitimizes or empowers the general public that they can say what they feel with Muslims.”

Search Google or Facebook for plenty more. It’s wonderful that so many Americans are expressing their support for a scared little girl. It is, to use a word with which Donald Trump is familiar, disgusting that there was ever a need for this. And let’s be clear, the problem goes well beyond Donald Trump. If I thought Trump and people like him had any capacity for shame for their actions, I’d hope they are now feeling it acutely. I’ll settle for the hope that there are fewer of them that need to feel it than I fear.

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