by Gary Fouse
Zahra Billoo is the San Francisco chapter leader of CAIR. I have seen her speak in person twice at UC Irvine. The first occasion was in January 2013 when she tried to sell Islam to UCI students during Islam Awareness Week. On that occasion, her topic was women's rights under Islam! However, in answer to one of my questions during q and a, she had to acknowledge that under Islam, the penalty for adultery was death-for both men and women, she stressed.
The second occasion was in April 2019 during the annual hate week against the Jewish state of Israel sponsored by the Muslim Student Union. It was on this occasion that I came away with the impression that Zahra Billoo is a woman who sees enemies around every corner.
Take my word for it. This woman is toxic. On second thought-don't take my word for it. You can watch for yourself. Both of the above links have videos taken of the events by Yours Truly. Here (courtesy of Israellycool.com), Billoo is speaking last week before the annual convention of American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), an equally toxic organization co-founded by radical UC Berkeley professor Hatem Bazian, largely for the purpose of financing Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), which Bazian also co-founded.
Note how Billoo uses the "Zionist" dog whistle to attack Jews and Jewish organizations like the Anti-Defamation League (ADL, the Jewish Federation, Hillel etc. ("polite Zionists") What this is is nothing more than thinly-disguised Jew-hatred.
Personally, I don't know what Billoo has against ADL, the Jewish Federation, or Hillel. They've never been a problem for the likes of Billoo because they don't really fight back against campus anti-Semitism-at least in Orange Country their track record is pretty bleak. But I digress.
Note how Billoo goes out of her way to caution the audience against thinking that any "Zionist" no matter how progressive, can be their friend. Indeed, her words remind me of that verse in the Koran, sura 5 verse 52, where it tells Muslims not to take Christians and Jews as their friends.
[5:52] O ye who believe! take not the Jews and the Christians for friends. They are friends one to another. And whoso among you takes them for friends is indeed one of them. Verily, Allah guides not the unjust people.
I also want to point out Billoo's words about just because you are in the Girl Scouts together, watch how the conversation goes when you bring up "what is happening in Palestine”. I don't want to paint all Muslims with a wide brush here as does Billoo with Jews. But I have personally had many experiences in conversations with Muslims and observed how the conversation went when the Israeli-Palestinian conflict came up. How the smile disappears and is replaced by anger and emotion. I have seen it not only with people from a Palestinian background. I have seen it with Muslims with backgrounds in Egypt, Somalia, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan etc. etc. In the above clip, Billoo states that she herself is not Palestinian. I always ask why Muslims from other parts of the world, who have nothing in common with the Middle East other than religion, feel so strongly about this particular conflict.
The answer is easy. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, first and foremost, is a conflict not over land and who the rightful owner is, rather it is a conflict over religion. To Muslims everywhere, the (mostly-Muslim) Palestinians must be the good guys and the (mostly-Jewish) Israelis must be the bad guys. In Koranic thought, it is the default position.
Check out the Muslim Student Association chapters on most campuses. There will be some of Palestinian background, but most have backgrounds from Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and many other predominantly Muslim countries. And yet, these student groups, along with their sister organization, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), have brought turmoil and anti-Semitism to their respective campuses all due to the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
Zahra Billoo is an American. As an American, she should not be telling her audiences not to take "Zionists" as friends. She should be telling them that as Americans, they should take Jews as friends because they are Americans too. The fact that they disagree on a particular issue that involves a region on the other side of the world doesn't change the fact that we are all Americans. But that is not Billoo's message. Her message is one of hate and division. She is an anti-Semite and a hate monger in my view. Her use of the word, "Zionist" is part of the playbook. It simply means Jew.