Amina Amdeen came from Iraq. She wears a hijab. And she’s an American hero.
On Nov. 13 in Austin, Texas, when her fellow protesters menaced a Donald Trump supporter, she put herself between them and him to defend his freedom of speech.
As reported by the Austin American-Statesman, Amdeen was one of 150 protesters who had been marching through Texas’ heavily pro-Hillary Clinton capital city. They encountered a few counterdemonstrators, Joseph Weidknecht among them.
Weidknecht is a six-and-a-half-foot, 350-pound sheet-metal worker. But when the demonstrators took his Trump hat and his signs and at least one of them took out a cigarette lighter, “I was genuinely scared for my life,” he said. Fortunately, Amdeen, a University of Texas sophomore much shorter than he is, had interposed herself “like a mountain.”
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Most people will invoke free speech when they agree with the speech. The people who really believe in it are those who will defend it even when they disagree.
Amdeen, who came to the United States with her family at the age of 10, showed her commitment to this quintessential value that defines the nation of which she is now a citizen. And she went beyond the right to free speech, standing up for civility and dialogue — not just letting each other shout, but trying to hear, respond and connect.