Zahra Billoo, Executive Director of CAIR-SFBA
Have you met anyone in your life who literally adheres to equity and justice as mentioned in the verse of the Quran below?
“O YOU who have attained to faith! Be ever steadfast in upholding equity, bearing witness to the truth for the sake of God, even though it be against your own selves or your parents and kinsfolk. Whether the person concerned be rich or poor, God’s claim takes precedence over [the claims of] either of them. 150 Do not, then, follow your own desires, lest you swerve from justice: for if you distort [the truth], behold God is indeed aware of all that you do!
I can proudly say I have been blessed in the course of my life to know such a person.
Over the years, I have worked with a lot of civil rights attorney and advocates who are passionate about what they do, but Zahra Billoo, the Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) San Francisco Bay Area, in my opinion literally lives by the principle of equity and justice mentioned in the Quran verse above.
She is one of the most dedicated civil rights attorneys and the most passionate social justice advocate I have ever met. To her, no issue is small. I have watched her advocate against President’s Obama’s drone attack long before it became a popular issue. She has been very vocal against the FBI’s discrimination and harassment of the Muslim community, and constantly puts out a PSA about not talking to the FBI without the presence of an attorney. She sacrifices her evenings and weekends meeting with the Muslim community to do know your rights workshops. And as for the Muslim community themselves, well, she has no problem speaking out against them when they fail to exercise justice and equity, especially as regards to the role of women. To ensure that women are equally represented as speakers in Muslim events, she created a list of Muslim women speakers so that organizations will have no excuse for not inviting women to speak.
But that’s not all. She is also a great humanitarian, organizing and volunteering her time to collect food to feed the homeless on a regular basis. She also personally bakes birthday cakes for children in foster care.
She is a lot of things to the community that I feel it’s really difficult to do justice on this individual today.
She does have a passion besides social justice and activism that helps her unwind. However, due to her busy schedule, she mostly does it in the middle of the night, and like everything else in her life, she is very good at it too. But you will have to watch the video below to find out what that is.
Justice is a Warm Cupcake from Roldan Lozada on Vimeo.
I will end with a hadith (saying of the Prophet Muhammad (May peace and blessing be upon him))
“Whoever amongst you sees anything objectionable, let him change it with his hand (by action), if he is not able, then with his tongue (being vocal), and if he is not even able to do so, then with his heart (at least abhor it), and the latter is the weakest form of faith. In the case of Zahra Billoo, she has no problem making changes through her action and her voice. May God continue to give her the strength to make the differences in people’s lives.