A young Muslim woman who found online fame for posting a selfie of her in front of far-right protesters has apologised to the Jewish community after it emerged she had previously sent anti-Semitic tweets.
Zakia Belkhiri, 22, was lauded as “heroic” on social media last week for posting a photo of herself in a headscarf in front of an anti-Islam protest outside a Muslim lifestyle exhibition in Belgium.
Days later, however, it was revealed that in 2012 she wrote: “Hitler didn’t kill all the Jews, he left some. So we know why he was killing them.” Two years later, in 2014, she wrote: “F****** Jews. I hate them so much.”
On Saturday, as Twitter users reacted in anger, Belkhiri wrote: “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 also retweeted a YouTube video of two people dressed as a Muslim and an Orthodox Jew walking in New York.
Describing her “ignorance” in the wake of civilian deaths in Gaza in 2014, she said: “I thought all Jews supported the crimes of Israel because Israel claims itself to be the Jewish State. Which made me angry on all the Jews for these murders.”
The online backlash came after she told the BBC that she posted the photo “just to share joy and peace,” adding 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”.
One angry user posted a meme showing the now-famous picture of her taking a selfie but replacing the far-right Vlaams Belang protesters with Jewish concentration camp prisoners and scenes of other terror attacks.