A racist Facebook user trolled a Muslim woman for ‘infiltrating’ a Christmas festival in her hijab.
Ruwan Alkam was snapped after taking her three year-old son Musa to enjoy the Yulefest in Gilmer, Texas, last week.
Her photo was shared on Facebook by a local restaurateur, with the caption: ‘Look what showed up in Gilmer.
‘At the Yulefest. We have been infiltrated.’
Alkam says she was ‘devastated’ when a friend saw the post and forwarded it to her – but has also been inundated with support by other locals appalled by how she has been treated.
Writing on Facebook, she said: ‘I’m just a mom trying to do my best like everyone else is.
‘I never thought my presence alone would be this offensive to someone.
‘I am active in my community. I donate, volunteer, and I’ve made some amazing friends who have never let me feel alienated.
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‘I don’t feel safe in my town anymore, I feel one day someone will just snap and attack me. I want better for my kids, I don’t want to live in fear anymore.’
The mother told KHOU: ‘I was just shocked that somebody would go out of their way to take a photo of me, without my consent, and then post a really nasty comment along with it…
I mean, you know, sometimes people would make like snide remarks or just dirty looks or any and stuff like that, but no one has like been blatantly racist to me at all.’
Despite the upset, Alkam now says she has been bolstered by the wave of support shown by locals who she says have rushed to ‘stand by her side.’
Yulefest chairman Brandy Ferrer was among those appalled by Alkam’s treatment.
She said: ‘We want everybody here.
‘We don’t care about race or religion or nationality.
‘And we wanted everybody to be able to enjoy it.’
Business owner Ferrer and several associates banded together to buy gifts for Alkam and her family to try and show that they are welcome at the event, and in their town.
She said: ‘We wanted to band together to show this family and everyone that we want you here, and this is not our viewpoint. This is not how we feel.
‘We want people to feel comfortable here. We want you to come and enjoy our community.’
The businesswoman who made the post has since deleted her account, and has not made any comment.