Anti-Semitic Tweets Spell Downfall of Belgian Social Media Darling Zakia Belkhiri

The young Muslim woman got a lot of social media traction from a photograph of her taking a selfie in front of far-right protesters. But then her past caught up with her.

The photo of Zakia Belkhiri, taken by Jurgen Augusteyns, taking a selfie in front of an anti-Islam demonstration quickly became viral
The photo of Zakia Belkhiri, taken by Jurgen Augusteyns, taking a selfie in front of an anti-Islam demonstration quickly became viral Twitter

Nasty, anti-Semitic statements have come back to haunt a young Muslim woman in Belgium, who only a few days ago was a social media star, the BBC reports.

A picture of Zakia Belkhiri, 22, taking a selfie against the background of an anti-Islam demonstration was widely shared on social media as a subtle and humorous way of dealing with a potentially fraught situation.

Even some of the placard-carrying demonstrators from the far-right Vlaams Belang group seemed to find it funny.

"This wasn't a protest at all, this was just to share joy and peace," Belkhiri said later in an email to the BBC. She added that she wanted "to show that things can be different. And that we can live together, not next to each other but with each other."

Now, however, social media posts from 2012 have been published, casting Belkhiri in a very different light.

"Hitler didn't kill all the Jews, he left some. So we know why he was killing them," she tweeted in November 2012.

And in a Facebook post in March 2014, she used a vulgar term to describe Jews, adding, "I hate them so much."

Belkhiri promptly deleted her social media accounts after her old posts were revealed, but she couldn't prevent the social media backlash that ensued.

One unamused user created a meme of her now-famous picture with Jewish concentration camp prisoners and scenes of various terror attacks replacing the right-wing protesters in the background.

On Saturday, Belkhiri took to Twitter in an attempt to explain away her anti-Semitic remarks.

"My opinion many years ago was meant on the zionist back then, that spread hate instead of love so to all the other jews peace be upon you!" she wrote.

She also retweeted a YouTube video of two friends dressed as an Orthodox Jew and a Muslim walking through New York to test the public's reaction.

It's not clear if her explanation satisfied her critics. "You meant that Zionist Jews deserve to die?" asked one Twitter user.