This weekend saw the third Muslim Expo, a festival celebrating Islam and Muslim lifestyles, take place in Antwerp, Belgium. As an anti-Muslim group descended on the day, 22-year-old Zakia Belkhiri used her skill at taking selfies to completely derail them.
Speaking to the BBC, Belkhiri said she “didn't want to look like a girl who seeks attention”, but had to act. “This wasn't a protest at all, this was just to share joy and peace,” she explained. Photos show protesters smiling as she flashed the peace sign and pouted at her phone, and her defiant act has now gone viral.
Islamophobic protests have been gathering momentum in Belgium, populated mostly by the far-right group Vlaams Belang. Led by their extremist founder Filip Dewinter, dozens of protestors turned up outside Muslim Expo. Reports say they were handing out pork sausages and held signs with slogans “Stop Islam”, “No Mosques” and “No headscarves”.
Vlamms Belang are responsible for starting the creepy spy website islamwatch.net. Dewinter told Belgium news: “We started this website islamwatch.net where people can report about facts of Islamization. Every new mosque, every new madrasa, every new halal shop and so on and so on is a sign of Islamization, and we want this Islamization to stop.”
For now, selfies are a force for good.