Photo of woman smiling at far-right protestor ignites social media

A photo from a protest in Birmingham, England has swept the internet.

Press Association captured an iconic moment of a woman, Saffiyah Khan, defiantly smiling as she was surrounded by members of the English Defense League. The league, or EDL, is a far-right nationalist group in England that was protesting outside Birmingham Central Mosque.

Labor MP for Birmingham, Jess Phillips, shared the photo on Twitter:

"Who looks like they have power here, the real [person from Birmingham] on the left or the EDL who migrated for the day to our city and failed to assimilate," Phillips said tongue-in-cheek.

Khan spoke to Unilad about what was happening when the photo was snapped. Apparently, members of the EDL began intimidating a woman wearing a hijab -- who had spoken out against them -- and she wanted to defend her.

Check out other photos from the protest

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Photos from Birmingham protest
File photo dated 08/04/17 of Saffiyah Khan (left) staring down English Defence League (EDL) protester Ian Crossland during a demonstration in Birmingham, as she has said she was "not scared in the slightest" during the tense confrontation.
File photo dated 08/04/17 of Saffiyah Khan (left) staring down English Defence League (EDL) protester Ian Crossland during a demonstration in Birmingham, as she has said she was "not scared in the slightest" during the tense confrontation.
An English Defence League (EDL) protestor clashes with a member of the public during a demonstration in the city of Birmingham, in the wake of the Westminster terror attack.
An English Defence League (EDL) protestor clashes with a member of the public during a demonstration in the city of Birmingham, in the wake of the Westminster terror attack.
An English Defence League (EDL) protestor clashes with a member of the public during a demonstration in the city of Birmingham, in the wake of the Westminster terror attack.
Saffiyah Khan (left) faces down English Defence League (EDL) protester Ian Crossland during a demonstration in the city of Birmingham, in the wake of the Westminster terror attack.
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"My intention was to not involve myself unless I saw something like that happen," she told Unilad. "I understand the police are quite efficient at sorting stuff like that out, but I just think sometimes is more important just to see who has the same opinion as you, so you're not on your own."

"At one point, a very petite lady in a headscarf shouted 'racist' 'Islamophobic' etc and almost immediately a group of about 25 EDL members came running over, some of them quite big lads, really intimidating," she continued. Once she realized the police were not going to do anything, Khan stepped up.

When the EDL realized Khan was against them, they began to surround her instead. Despite them yelling and throwing water on her, she refused to be intimidated.

"It might be surprising to understand because people on the Internet have found is surprising, that I wouldn't be intimidated," she told Unilad, "I think it says a lot about them that a girl can not be intimidated by 25 of them standing around."

The photo of Khan's bravery went viral on social media, garnering thousands of likes and retweets on Twitter.

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