I will not be silenced: Australian Muslim fights Twitter 'troll army'

Born in Afghanistan, Mariam Veiszadeh moved to Australia as a child and is now a lawyer, founder of the Islamophia Register and ambassador for "Welcome to Australia."

Story highlights

  • Australian lawyer receives barrage of abuse at the urgings of a U.S. website
  • The Daily Stormer instructed followers to be as " nasty, hurtful, hateful, offensive" as possible
  • Counter campaign sees thousands tweet #IStandWithMariam

(CNN)The Internet is a dangerous place for Mariam Veiszadeh right now. It's where death threats lurk and vile messages appear faster than they can be deleted.

But it's also a place where support is growing in a Twitter counter-campaign -- #IStandWithMariam -- to the urgings of a U.S.-based white supremacist website, the Daily Stormer, to "be as nasty, hurtful, hateful, offensive, insulting and 'vilifying' as you possibly can."
    And they have been. "Leave now before we behead your mother and bury you all with pigs..." said one tweet from an account, which has since been suspended. Many of the messages include extremely offensive hashtags.
      Veiszadeh, an Australian lawyer and founder of the Islamophobia Register, which tracks instances of abuse against Muslims, knows exactly why she's being targeted.
      "The reality is people don't abuse me just because I'm a woman or because my name is Mariam or because I'm Middle-Eastern. They abuse me because I have a scarf on my head and because I'm a Muslim," Veiszadeh told CNN.

      It started with a tweet over a T-shirt

        Last October, Veiszadeh posted an image of a T-shirt for sale in Woolworths, one of Australia's biggest retailers, which showed the Australian flag with the words "If you don't love it, leave."
        She called the shirt "bigoted," a flood of complaints followed and the shirt was withdrawn from sale. Woolworths apologized and blamed an ordering error, saying it "should never have been on our shelves."