#ZakiraBelkhiri: The Muslim girl's viral selfie in front of an anti-Islam protest

An anti-Islam protest in Belgium has backfired after a Muslim girl posed in front of the group to take selfies.

A photo of Zakia Belkhiri against the backdrop of the far-right nationalist group has gone viral with tens of thousands of likes and shares across social media.

Images of Belkhiri taking selfies of herself went viral after freelance journalist Jurgen Augusteyns caught the momentTwitter / credit Jurgen Augusteyns

Members of Vlaams Belang, who some describe as "openly anti-Muslim", had gathered to protest outside an Islamic lifestyle event. Filip Dewinter, one the group's leading members said: "This Islam fair is an apartheid fair where they preach segregation instead of integration."

But when Zakia Belkhiri left the event, she started to take photos of herself under sign which read "no headscarves", "no mosques" and "stop Islam".

Protesters reacted surprisingly well despite holding signs such as "no headscarves".Twitter / credit Jurgen Augusteyns

She told BBC Trending she took the photos "to show that things can be different. And that we can live together, not next to each other but with each other." She said her selfies had not been a form of counter-protest and she just wanted to "share joy and peace".

The 22-year-old took the photos outside the third annual expo in Antwerp, Belgium, on Saturday. The expo is an event for Belgium's Muslims, who make up around 15 per cent of the population. It featured performances, talks, workshops and a halal food market.

She said she had initially avoided the media calls because "she didn't want to look like a girl who seeks attention".

A relatively high proportion of the Belgium population are Muslim but since the attacks in Brussels in March, a number of far-right groups have risen in prominence. According to the BBC, Vlaams Belang gained 10,000 new likes overnight after the attacks, a growth of 25 per cent.