Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Doncaster woman's Facebook post used in anti-hate campaign

Faiza Chowdhury with Facebook Changing Minds anti-hate campaign in a bus stop
Image caption Lauren Docherty's post about Faiza Chowdhury was used in Facebook's Changing Minds anti-hate campaign after it was shared almost 10,000 times

A woman has spoken of the "insane" experience of her Facebook post being printed on bus stop signs and billboards across the UK.

Lauren Docherty's post about her Muslim friend Faiza Chowdhury has been shared around the world almost 10,000 times.

It has now been used in Facebook's anti-hate campaign, Changing Minds.

Ms Docherty, from Doncaster, wrote: "If we'd 'closed the borders' 24 years ago, I would never have made one of the best friendships I've ever experienced."

She wrote the post in November, when "everything was happening in the world with the Syrian refugees," she said.

"I was seeing a lot of negative things on Facebook by a lot of people who I think hadn't been friends with someone of a different race before, so I wanted to challenge that a little bit," she added.

Ms Chowdhury, 24, was born in Bangladesh and brought to the UK when she was a baby.

Image copyright Facebook/Lauren Rebecca
Image caption Lauren Docherty and Faiza Chowdhury became friends at university in Manchester

She is now a teacher in Manchester and wearing a headscarf is seen as "normal" by those around her.

"I was really worried at first but I've realised that when you're a child you're just curious," she said.

"But anything you explain to them they'll be more understanding towards you.

"It's so important to have people who wear headscarves in teaching so kids will grow up used to it."

Ms Docherty said knowing Faiza had influenced her views on many things.

"Faiza isn't a terrorist. She isn't oppressed. She doesn't support ISIS, she doesn't want us all to stop eating bacon, she doesn't think we should all learn her language, or stop wearing poppies," Ms Docherty wrote.

"We got hundreds of messages, thousands of friend requests because of this post - only positive things from all races and all over the world," Ms Docherty added.

"It's just been insane."

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