Nikita Richardson
November 13, 2015 9:14 am

It’s no secret that the anonymity of the web can bring out the worst in people, leading them to say things they’d never say in real life to complete strangers. That type of hatred led Lena Dunham to more or less give up Twitter and has made the website a minefield for anyone with an account and a “controversial” opinion. But what would happen if all that hatred could be turned into something positive?

Susan Carland, an academic from Australia and a practicing Muslim, has experienced more than her fair share of hate from trolls, especially as it pertains to her appearance (she wears a hijab) and her beliefs. Fed up with the anonymous vitriol coming her way, Carland recently decided to convert each of the hateful tweets she receives into $1 donations to UNICEF, the United Nation’s Children’s Fund.

“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,” Carland writes in a piece for Australia’s The Age. “My response to [trolls] is not an act of angry defiance, but a calm reaction that is deeply rooted in [a faith] that instructs its followers to take the higher road and be a force for good in the world, not because people necessarily deserve it but because it is simply the right thing to do.”

Since beginning her mini-campaign, Carland has donated nearly $1,000 to UNICEF and worries that she may soon go broke. But the statement she’s making still stands: It’s far better to turn darkness into light than to let the bad things in the world go unchecked.

“[B]y refusing to let the hate of others mold me, I am more secure and relaxed in my own identity than ever,” she says. “Their hatred of what they believe Muslims are has encouraged me to recommit to the beauty of my tradition.”

Check out her moving op-ed in its entirety here.

Related reading: 

#NiUnaMenos is all over Twitter for a very important reason

What my Muslim-American BFF taught me about wearing a hijab

[Image via Twitter]

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