The photo of a young Muslim woman called Zakia Belkhiri subtly undermining an anti-Islam demonstration by using the protesters as a backdrop for a selfie was one of the most striking images of the past week. But it’s a story with a not so pleasant postscript.
The iconic picture above has been widely shared on social media over the last few days and reported on by BBC Trending and a host of other news outlets around the world. Many who saw it were charmed by Ms Belkhiri’s stunt which seemed to use humour to defuse a potentially awkward confrontation outside a Muslim lifestyle exhibition in Belgium. Photos of the event showed that 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,” Ms Belkhiri told Trending in an email at the time explaining her actions. The 22-year-old 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”.
However, since then a series of deeply disturbing anti-Semitic statements made by Ms Belkhiri on social media have come to light.
In one tweet dating from November 2012, she wrote: “Hitler didn’t kill all the Jews, he left some. So we know why he was killing them.”
And in another Facebook post from March 2014, she used an expletive to describe Jews before adding: “I hate them so much.”