Zahra Billoo

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Zahra Billoo (Right) with Bernie Sanders

Zahra Billoo is a Santa Clara, California activist. She serves as Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, San Francisco Bay Area (CAIR-SFBA) office.


Zahra Billoo is a civil rights attorney and the executive director of the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). In this capacity, she leads the oldest CAIR chapter in the country, serving the Bay Area's 250,000 Muslims. Zahra is frequently seen at mosques and universities facilitating trainings and workshops as a part of CAIR’s grassroots efforts to empower the American Muslim community and build bridges with allies on civil rights issues. Zahra also provides direct legal services for victims of law enforcement targeting and Islamophobia. Her work has been highlighted in local and national media outlets including the Christian Science Monitor, KTVU, MSNBC, NPR, and the San Jose Mercury News. Zahra is a 2014 recipient of the National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Bay Area Chapter's Unsung Hero Award and a 2013 recipient of the South Asian Bar Association of Northern California's Trailblazer Award.

A proud 49er, Zahra graduated Cum Laude from California State University, Long Beach with degrees in Human Resources Management and Political Science. While in college, she held various leadership roles both at campus and state-wide advocacy efforts for college affordability and social justice. She also worked with the California Faculty Association. She earned her J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, and is licensed to practice law in California. As a law student, Zahra was awarded the Peggy Browning Fund Fellowship, and worked to work with the National Employment Law Project and became involved with the Muslim American Society.[1]

'Trump supporters...are in the streets committing hate crimes'

Zahra Billoo was interviewed for San Francisco-based KRON4 News in October 2019.[2] She said: “When I see that [MAGA] hat, I honestly just worry about my safety, like that is the first and foremost concern…When I see someone wearing the MAGA hat, what I see is an endorsement of the white nationalist agenda that President Donald Trump has put forward through both his words and his actions…”

Later in the program, which also addressed Trump Supporters, Billoo said (without evidence):

“It is not Trump opponents that are in the streets committing hate crimes. It is Trump supporters that are in the streets committing hate crimes.”

Louis Farrakhan

On June 5 2009, Zahra Billoo tweeted "watching a Farrakhan church speech, while at the gym."

On June 5 2009, Zahra Billoo tweeted "watching a Farrakhan church speech, while at the gym."[3]


ICHRP US International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines April 25, 2018:


Zahra Billoo, Executive Director of the Council on American Islamic Relations with ICHRP US members Katie Joaquin and Bernadette Ellorin. #Justice4Jerome #NoMuslimBanEver — at Supreme Court of the United States.

Teamed with DSA at Abolish ICE event

Zahra Billoo allegedly collaborated with the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America to visit an "Abolish ICE" encampment.

Zahra Billoo allegedly collaborated with the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (South Bay Democratic Socialists of America) to visit an ICE encampment.

On July 4 at 5:17 AM, Alia Salem, Executive Director of CAIR-TX posted the following from San Francisco, California on Facebook:

"The encampment was no joke. About 15 tents, lots of food, medical supplies and a full blown fence and barricade blocking the gate to the ICE entrance where the buses transporting detained persons in and out goes. Thank you to the SFBA chapter of DSA for organizing the action and Zahra Billoo for notifying and leading the way. ❤️"[4]

Communist Party USA Gathering


Sanctuary for All Californians was the theme as People’s World/Mundo Popular supporters gathered at the Niebyl-Proctor Marxist Library July 4 2018, demanding “No Ban, No Wall, No Mass Incarceration.”

"The keynote speakers—photojournalist David Bacon; Zahra Billoo, executive director, Council on American-Islamic Relations-San Francisco Bay Area; and Leo Mercer and Zay Coleman from the Oakland-based Urban Peace Movement—shared insights about urgent issues in today’s struggles for human rights, democracy, and social and economic justice.
"Juan Lopez, speaking for the People’s World/Mundo Popular, warned of the grave danger to democracy posed by the policies and actions of Donald Trump and his Republican allies, and called on all present to engage fully in the 2018 and 2020 elections.
"Bacon focused on the problems faced by migrants attempting to come here from Central America and the conditions underlying that harrowing journey.
"The current migration from Central America began with the civil wars of the 1970s, and the ways the U.S. was relating to the region, Bacon said. “Our taxes didn’t just pay for war and maquiladoras—this whole thing evolved into an even larger strategy of encouraging foreign investment through privatizing state utilities, services, and assets, and then negotiating free trade agreements in Mexico and Central America.”
"Migrants are now seeking to reunite with families divided by war and previous migration, fleeing threats of violence caused by criminalization and deportations of previous migrants, and looking for economic survival.
"Reminding the audience that massive pressure from the Civil Rights Movement forced Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act in 1965, as well as to end the highly repressive bracero immigrant worker program and to establish the family preference immigration system, Bacon said, “We have changed our world before, and we can do it again!”
"Zahra Billoo, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, San Francisco Bay Area, recalled her growing-up years in a middle-class family that had emigrated from Pakistan, with parents who easily obtained U.S. citizenship. Sept. 11, 2001, she said, “was when we realized, as a Pakistani-American family, that we were not seen as welcome here.”
"When Billoo and others at CAIR examined the factors behind the continuing growth of anti-Muslim sentiment, she said, “We found ‘an Islamophobia industry.’ From 2009 to 2013, 33 groups spent $205 million” donated by wealthy individuals and large foundations to spread anti-Muslim hate, including training law enforcement on how to spot “terrorists, and every image they showed of a terrorist looked like me and my family.”
"During Trump’s campaign, Billoo recalled, he urged a complete ban on Muslims entering the U.S. And in the 10 days following his election, “we saw more hate crimes targeting the Muslim community than in any other period since 2011.”
"She called attention to the current administration’s targeting of others as well, including people of color, women, the undocumented, and the LGBTQ community. Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court has just approved the third version of Trump’s travel ban, and the “zero tolerance” immigration policy has led to separation of over 2,000 children from their parents at the border.
"Billoo urged all present to “use today, July 4, to commit, to be courageous, to take risks and to fight alongside each other, “because we are talking about a system that won’t be fixed with band-aids, it’s going to take actual abolition…. We know that when we fight, we can win.”
"Speaking for the Urban Peace Movement and its DetermiNation Black Men’s Group, Mercer and Coleman relayed a message from UPM’s program and policy campaign coordinator, Dr. Prince White, who was unable to participate. And they related the challenges they themselves face as young black men growing up in Oakland’s poor working-class communities and confronting the devastating social and economic injustices youth and others in the black community experience daily.
"In his message, White urged support for “the leadership of youth of color. We have to listen to them,” he said, “bring them into spaces, and let them take leadership roles.”
"White observed that July 4th “has always been a complicated holiday for black people,” adding that in his view, “the major forces shaping the world” since World War II have been white male supremacy and capitalism. Fighting against those forces is “the best thing one can do with one’s life.”
"Calling his generation “angry and upset,” Mercer said that he believes older generations haven’t fully transmitted the values young people need to succeed in today’s world, and “as young people, we have to move forward for all the things that have been happening in the last 300 to 400 years.”
"Young black men who live in the ‘hood “are going to be scary, they’re going to be intimidating,” he told the crowd. “But you’ve got to build a bridge, start talking to some of us, because we have a lot of intellect that could benefit this world.”
"Juan Lopez warned that the Trump administration is “out to destroy the rights our people have won since before the birth of the nation,” as well as the social and economic advances of the 1930s New Deal and Congress’ passage of the Voting Rights and Civil Rights Act in the 1960s.
"He called for full engagement in the 2018 and 2020 election campaigns, at both national and state levels. “Already this year, the early races are showing a new crop of candidates running and winning in Congressional districts that have been controlled by Republicans,” he said. “They are women, youth, smart, tenacious, multicolor, multi-generational, with different political views, all progressive.
"“We are moving in a good direction, but we’re at a crossroads now,” López added. “One road leads to an authoritarian, anti-democratic, and even fascist regime; the other leads to the extension of democracy like we’ve never seen before, and a new society where we the people become masters of our own destiny.”
"MCs Michelle Kern and Alex Farr presented the keynote speakers with certificates from area Assembly member Tony Thurmond, expressing appreciation for their work.
"Akberet Hagos’ performance of “This Land is Your Land,” by the great 20th century American folk singer Woody Guthrie, had everyone helping to fill the hall with the classic ballad’s soaring refrains.
"Cassandra Lopez, known affectionately in the community as “Mama Cassie,” offered the Niebyl-Proctor Marxist Library as “the place for the people” to meet and hold events.[5]

Bernie Sanders Endorsement

Zahra Billoo tweeted her endorsement of Bernie Sanders.[6]

31st annual Day of Remembrance

"More than 300 people packed the San Jose Buddhist Church hall on Feb. 20 2011, to attend the 31st annual Day of Remembrance event in San Jose. This event commemorates Executive Order 9066 that was issued on Feb. 19, 1942 and which led to the incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans in U.S. concentration camps during World War II. The theme of the event was “Fighting Against Fear” which made connections the Japanese American experience during WWII and the attacks on Arab Americans and American Muslims today. The San Jose Day of Remembrance was organized by the Nihonmachi Outreach Committee (NOC), a grassroots community organization that was formed in the late 1970s out of concerns about the impact of corporate redevelopment on historic Japanese American communities.
"The event was emceed by NOC member Masao Suzuki, who pointed out the forces of “racism, war hysteria, and political misleadership” that led to the World War II concentration camps for Japanese Americans were also at work today in attacks on Arab Americans and American Muslims. Jimi Yamaichi, who was sent to the concentration camp at Tule Lake, California, told the audience about his fight to join the local carpenters union, which excluded Japanese and other Asians before World War II. Jimi Yamaichi was also among 26 young men at Tule Lake who refused to be drafted into the U.S. military along with hundreds of others at other camps.
"The special guest speaker for the evening was Zahra Billoo, the executive director of the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the CAIR, the Council on American Islamic Relations. Billoo commented on CAIR courage award that had be given to Mr. Yamaichi, and in turn was thankedd by the emcee, Masao Suzuki, for her work on his behalf after he had been questioned by the FBI in connection with the Federal Grand Jury targeting Midwest anti-war and international solidarity activists. Yasmine Vanya of the South Bay Islamic Association also spoke and thankedd the Japanese American community for their solidarity and support in the days following Sept. 11, 2001.
"After the procession there was a short speech by Karen Korematsu, the daughter of Fred Korematsu. Fred Korematsu was one of three Japanese Americans who fought the concentration camps through the courts, eventually taking the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. While the 1944 Supreme Court ruled that the camps were legal because national security outweighed individual rights and allowed racial discrimination, this was overturned in 1983 when it was shown that the U.S. government deliberately lied to win the case. The state of California just celebrated its first “Fred Korematsu Day” on his birthday, Jan. 30.
"The last speaker was Congressman Mike Honda, who represents the 15th district in San Jose. He spoke about how fear led to Japan bashing in the 1980s and compared this to the rising tensions with China today.
"At the end of the program the Suzuki, reminded the audience about the continuing struggle of Japanese Latin Americans. The U.S. government held more than 2000 Japanese civilians from Latin America in Department of Justice prison camps at Crystal City, Texas and other sites to be used as prisoner of war exchanges. Japanese Latin Americans were excluded from the 1986 and 1988 redress (apology) and reparations (monetary compensation) awarded to almost all Japanese Americans held in concentration camps on the grounds that they “entered the country illegally” (true enough, since they were rounded up at the behest of U.S. government and brought to the United States at gunpoint). He urged the audience to support the Campaign For Justice (CFJ) efforts to establish an official commission to report on Japanese Latin Americans.
"In addition to the record turnout, the audience had large number of young people from local colleges and a good turnout from the local peace and international solidarity movements and the American Muslim community. Local state assemblyman Paul Fong also came with a proclamation from the California state assembly commending the Day of Remembrance event.[7]

2014 National Lawyers Guild Testimonial Dinner (Bay Area Chapter)

Every year, the National Lawyers Guild holds a dinner honoring various activists. In 2014, the honorees were Anne Butterfield Weills & Dan Siegel. The Master of Ceremonies was Nadia Kayyali, National Lawyers Guild SF Bay Area Chapter and Electronic Frontier Foundation, with Carlos Villarreal, Executive Director, National Lawyers Guild SF Bay Area Chapter, as well as presenters of the "Partners in Liberation" Marie Levin and Azadeh Zhorabi and the "Unsung Hero Presentation" referring to Zahra Billoo. Also present was Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) San Francisco Bay Area and Cat Brooks and Nate Miley, Alameda County Supervisor.[8]

In the program, Robert Scheer referred to Dan Siegel one of the "legendary lawyers of the Left, such as Leonard Weinglass, Leonard Boudin and Charles Garry." David Siegel, Jonathan Siegel, Jesse Siegel, Narda Zachino, Penny Matson, Michael Siegel, Christopher Scheer, Krystof Lopaur, Effie Rawlings, Davi Barker, and Ignacio Chapela all wrote testimonials.

2016 Annual ISF Annual Bay Area Banquet

Linda Sarsour spoke at 2016 annual Islamic Scholarship Fund Annual Bay Area Banquet.[9] Political Science Assistant Professor Dr. Dalia Fahmy and politician Rashida Tlaib also spoke at the event. Zahra Billoo attended.

Call for Justice

Call for Justice: Joint Letter on American Muslim Solidarity Against Police Brutality, January 26, 2015;

We are contacting you on behalf of the Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative (MuslimARC)(1) and Muslims for Ferguson(2) to ask for your solidarity in the struggle and call for justice concerning the tragic and unnecessary police and federal law enforcement killings of Black men, women, and children in the United States.

From the time of our Noble Prophet ﷺ‎, anti-Black and anti-African racism has plagued Muslim societies and communities. The first martyr in the early days of Islam was Sumayyah (RA), who had black skin and was a victim of violence at the hands of the governing authorities of Makkah. Other companions with black skin, such as Ammar bin Yassir (RA) and Bilal (RA), were also victims of ridicule and torture by the same authorities. State violence against marginalized communities is not a new development. History has proven time and again that Muslims are not immune to these forms of oppression.

Indeed, these oppressive behaviors and practices go against the messages that are at the heart of our Holy Qur’an and Prophetic traditions.

Signatories included Zahra Billoo - Santa Clara.

Japanese - Muslim solidarity

On March 25, 2017, 200 people marched from San Jose Japantown to San Jose City Hall to express the solidarity between Japanese Americans and American Muslims. Since the election of Donald Trump, many Japanese Americans have been mobilized to oppose the anti-Muslim government policies such as the travel ban from majority-Muslim countries. The march was sponsored by the Nihonmachi Outreach Committee (NOC) and the South Bay Islamic Association (SBIA).

As people assembled for the march, Susan Hayase - former NOC chair and the vice-chairperson of the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund in the period after the fight for redress and reparations - emceed a short program that included welcomes by Reverend Shinya Goto of the First United Methodist Church and Faisal Yazadi of the Evergreen Islamic Center.

The lead banner expressed the theme of the day: “1942-2017, 75 years of resistance. No to concentration camps. No to Islamophobia.” On the way to city hall, the marchers chanted “Hey hey, ho ho, Islamophobia has got to go!” and “Two, four, six, eight, the fight for justice will not wait!” People joined the march along the way.

Once at city hall, emcee began the rally saying, “Welcome, and thank you so much for being here! My name is Lisa Washio-Collette, and on behalf of the Nihonmachi Outreach Committee, we thank you for attending this grassroots day of solidarity between Japanese Americans and American Muslims! The Nihonmachi Outreach Committee is a progressive organization based in the San Jose Japanese American community that is dedicated to educating the public about the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, and as a consequence, is committed to defending all people on issues of civil rights, equality, justice, tolerance and peace. We are grateful to be co-sponsoring this event with the South Bay Islamic Association.”

The rally was co-emceed by Zahra Billoo, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Other speakers at the rally included Judy Mine, Silicon Valley Japanese American Citizens League (JACL); Faisal Yazadi (EIC); Masao Suzuki (NOC); Susan Hayase; Fumiaki Tosu, Casa de Clara Catholic Worker; Jesus Ruíz, People Acting in Community Together (PACT); Ash Kalra, State Assembly District 27 that includes Japantown; Tom Oshidari, San Jose JACL; and Robert Greenfield, African American Community Service Agency.[10]

Women's March

In January 2017 Zahra Billoo, activist, was a speaker at the Women's March in Washington D.C.

Charlottesville rally

On August 13, more than 500 people rallied outside the San José City Hall in solidarity with the fight against white supremacy in Charlottesville, Virginia. The candlelight rally honored Heather Heyer, who was killed by an American fascist from Ohio. San Jose activists spoke in solidarity with the 19 others injured when the fascist drove his car at high speed into people protesting the white supremacist "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville.

Masao Suzuki of Nihonmachi Outreach Committee (NOC) spoke of the rising resistance to Donald Trump and the white supremacists he emboldens. Suzuki led the crowd in a Japanese chant, “Ganbatte!” (Persevere in the struggle!).

The San Jose rally was organized by Women’s March – San Jose and STAND San Jose. It included speakers from Rise Up for Justice and Showing Up for Racial Justice. Reverend Jennifer Goto from People Acting in Community Together (PACTS) and Zahra Billoo of Council on American Islamic Relations also spoke of the fight against white supremacy.[11]

Arrested at Ryan's office

March 5, 2018, several Muslim-American leaders were arrested at the US Capitol while urging Congress to stand against President Donald Trump's effort to end a programme that protects certain young immigrants.

Omar Suleiman, Dawud Walid, Mujahid Fletcher, Talib Shareef and Nihad Awad of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), Zahra Billoo, and Linda Sarsour advocated immigration reform before getting arrested.

The protesters participated in an act of civil disobedience at the office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, demanding that he meet them to hear their concerns.

Demonstrations have taken place in major cities across the US in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme that protects young undocumented immigrants from deportations.

Fletcher, who also came to the US as a child from Columbia, said he shared the experience of the Dreamers, people who came into the US illegally as children.

"We don't want to live based on fear. We want to live according to the principles of freedom of speech, of religion," he said.

Quoting Malcolm X, Talib Shareef of the Muslim Alliance of North America said: "Almighty Allah has told us to stand for justice. We are not weak in faith and we are here for a mobilization.

"We stand here in the spirit of Malcolm X with the people who are affected by these policies."

"This is creating real fear," Suleiman said, adding that the imams are fighting white supremacy because Islamophobia, racism and hostility against immigrants all stem from the same roots.[12]

On the border

CAIR - Greater Los Angeles December 10, 2018:·

This what Protest looks like.


Members of CAIR, faith leaders, community partners and supporters prepare to head to the U.S.-Mexico border with @afsc_org as part of the #LoveKnowsNoBorders: A Moral Call for Migrant Justice mobilization. — with Ahmed Bedier, Danette Zaghari-Mask, Taha Hassane, Mejgan Afshan, Zahra Billoo, Omar Suleiman, Yasmine Taeb, Hussam Ayloush, Asma Rehman, Maytha Alhassen, Ismahan Abdullahi, Imraan Siddiqi and Shakeel Syed.



Muslim Collective for Equitable Democracy Conference

Muslim-Conference (1).png

In July 2019 Congressmembers Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Judy Chu, Susan Wild and Betty McCollum addressed the inaugural Muslim Collective for Equitable Democracy Conference and Presidential Forum July 23-24 at the Washington DC National Housing Center.

Other speakers included Keith Ellison, Abdul El-Sayed, Khizr Khan, Basheer Jones, Omar Suleiman, Sam Rasoul, Zahra Billoo, Catherine Orsborn, Corey Saylor, Daniel L. Weiner Delia Mogahed, Prof. Asifa Quraishi-Landes, James Zogby, Farhana Kheera, Suhail Khan, Mike Ghouse, Zainab Cheema, Sister Simone Campbell, Scott Simpson, Shaun Kennedy, Ken Martin, Sadaf Jaffer, Dilara Saeed, Luqmaan Bokhary, Nabilah Islam, Movita Johnson-Harrell, Rummi Khan, Ghazala Hashmi, Shahed Amanullah,Sevim Kalyoncu, Ani Osman-Zonneveld, Yasmeen Awwad, Amira Daugherty, Sabina Taj, Asina Silva, Dr. Jay Jalisi.