Profile picture
Zahra Billoo @ZahraBilloo
, 28 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
Today, Alhamdulillah, the award I wrote about two weeks ago, which had been previously rescinded was reinstated.
(This is good news. It won’t go viral the way the bad news did without some intentionality. So I’m asking for your help. Please share this if it resonates, if it gives you hope, if it makes you smile, and if this is what you believe reconciliation should look like.)
Later this year, I will InshaAllah accept an award from PACT for my work in the community.
As part of the reconciliation process, our friends at PACT have issued a powerful statement naming the realities Palestinians face and making commitments to continued learning, including visiting Palestine.

Yes, read that again. “Including visiting Palestine,”
I remember I cried when they left. From the moment the conversations had begun, I knew it was very possible that PACT would rescind my award. When they did, because I wouldn’t comply with the alternative options they presented to maintaining my award, it hurt.
No matter how much I wanted to maintain my relationship with this organization which I had worked closely with during my tenure at CAIR, the options in front of me were unacceptable.
Some of their members who are pro-Israel had taken issue with my Tweets, and wanted to silence me, marginalize my voice, and rearrange CAIR’s leadership.
So they rescinded the award and I cried. I cried to Allah, turning to two Rakah of prayer, to ask Allah for strength and sincerity.
Even as I put on a strong face for the world, and intended to tell my truth, I wanted to make sure that every step of the way, I was in consultation with my Lord.
When I thought through the possibility of what could happen after each conversation, I identified a best case scenario, the award was left in place, and a worst case scenario, the award was rescinded.
One of my team members who had been advising me through this process, corrected me. He gently noted that both case scenarios would be the best case, because what would be consistent would be our stand on the principles.
With each conversation, I thought, it’s the last 10 days of Ramadan. I could be doing something better with my time. However, I remembered what had been said at the Grand Qiyam a week prior, worship in the ways that worship is presented to you.
Engaging in extended challenging conversations about Palestine and solidarity was my worship in those moments. I was participating in this painful process to serve my creator by serving the Palestinian people.
If I wanted my allies to act with courage and risk loss in this moment, I would need to do the same. So I lost the award.

Then something blessed happened.
The news spread across our region and the nation. The story of an American Muslim civil rights leader cast in to the shadows as a result of the Palestine Litmus Test concerned @ggreenwald , local newspapers, elected officials, Black clergy, progressive Jews, and so many Muslims.
Some people had sought to silence my voice on Palestine. It backfired. Even just minutes before today’s announcement about the reinstatement, and agreements, progressive Jews, Arabs, and others were signing on to a letter explaining their concerns with the rescission.
Everyone was talking about Muslims and Palestine. Everyone was talking about some people’s reasonable belief, including my own, that Zionism is racism.
Through this process, what likely hurt the most was that this was happening with friends. However, at the time we’re at in our country and in our world, where people are being kidnapped and dying, we need to hold our friends to higher standards.
We need our friends to be courageous.
Muslims believe that we must object to oppression, be it our brother who is the oppressed or the oppressor.
Here, I hesitate to call PACT the oppressor. They were the target of oppressors but they were complicit. They were also sincere and kind, every step of the way. They saw the hurt they caused and asked at every turn how they could reconcile.
When they came to me to offer to reinstate the award, I was honestly taken aback. I could not have imagined this after everything and it was not something I had personally asked for.
However, as much the honor had meant, and how much it’s rescission had hurt, this was no longer about just an award or even just about Zahra. This was about something bigger, and so it would take more than reinstatement to move us forward.
The Palestinian struggle is inextricably connected to our collective liberation.
PACT agreed and for that I respect them even more. You can read their full statement here:
InshaAllah I will accept the award and PACT has acknowledged that the Palestinian struggles impacts our work on borders and policing, will commit to increasing their engagement with the Muslim community, learn more about Islamophobia and intersectionality.
Additionally, as I noted above, they will visit Palestine to see up close and understand why so many of us are perpetually outraged at what Apartheid Israel is doing.
“...perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not.”

(Quran 2:216)
Missing some Tweet in this thread?
You can try to force a refresh.

Like this thread? Get email updates or save it to PDF!

Subscribe to Zahra Billoo
Profile picture

Get real-time email alerts when new unrolls are available from this author!

This content may be removed anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member and get exclusive features!

Premium member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year)

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!