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This Woman Took A Selfie With Anti-Muslim Protesters And The Internet Went Berserk

Zakia Belkiri told BuzzFeed News she was completely overwhelmed by the attention the pictures received.

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Last weekend, protesters from the right-wing Flemish party Vlaams Belang parked themselves outside the Muslim Lifestyle Expo event in Antwerp, which features discussion, stalls, performances, and workshops.

So 22-year-old Zakia Belkhiri and other Muslims decided to take selfies with them. Belkhiri told BuzzFeed News she took the pictures to show that "we can live together, not [just] next to each other, but with each other".


Her images went hugely viral. They were shared thousands of times across social media and republished by dozens of news sites, most of which hadn't spoken to Belkhiri.

She said she was "confused" and "overwhelmed" by all the attention she has received over the last few days. At the height of it, she set her Twitter account to private.

However, she's now back on social media. "I was feeling insecure but then I saw all the positive reactions, [and] tweets, and they got me motivated to actually speak," she said.

"I didn't want to look like a girl who seeks attention so I thought why take the pleasure away from my fans," she said.


"I don’t really consider myself as a hero," Belkhiri said.

Zakia Belkhiri is my hero today. #LoveNotHate

Best selfie series ever from @rabiosaaloca 😂💪

Although she added she was proud of what she has accomplished: "I’m so happy to see that so many people are thrilled by this."

@whatkindafukery @rabiosaaloca what a badass!


"It's cool to see that I touched many hearts and inspired many people."

The only way to "hit" them is with peace. Epic move by 22yr old Belgian Zakia Belkhiri @rabiosaaloca #Islamophobia

And perhaps her newfound fame might have some other bonuses. "I really hope one day I'll meet a celebrity like Zayn Malik or Leonardo DiCaprio, I always wanted to meet someone famous hahahaha. 😝"

"There's no violence nor insults involved, so she got her point across in a very effective way," he said.

He said Belkhiri told him "she wanted to [take the selfies] to show that the right-wing protesters were harmless".

Victoria Sanusi is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Victoria Sanusi at

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