Following the surge of hate crimes in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s election win, women across the country have been signing up for self-defense classes. But many Muslim women in particular are turning to a 24-year-old in Chicago to help protect themselves from “hijab grabs.”
Zaineb Abdulla may be only 105 pounds and about five feet tall, but the 24-year-old Muslim, who wears a hijab, has long been teaching basic self-defense classes to women as vice-president of the organization Deaf Planet Soul, the Washington Post reports. She became aware of the importance of self-defense at 8 years old, when someone spit on her for wearing a hijab. After Donald Trump was declared the next president of the United States, however, Abdulla found herself receiving calls from Muslim women with a specific request: They wanted to learn how to protect themselves when someone grabs them by their headscarves.
Abdulla teamed up with trainer Miso Ceko of Chicago Mixed Martial Arts to help teach women moves that would allow them to defend themselves, according to the Washington Post. The Sunday after the election, nine mostly Muslim women attended the “hate crime survival seminar” taught by Abdulla, where they were taught how to escape a “hijab grab,” how to report hate crimes, and more. She posted videos of the seminar, and has urged people to “share the videos widely.”
Since then, the videos have gone viral — with more than 3.5 million views and 57,000 shares. Abdulla has already received almost 75 request for similar classes all over the world, including the United Kingdom and Nigeria.
“I have a lot of messages from women saying they didn’t think it was possible to fight back,” Abdulla told the Post.