Leanne Mohamad, a 15-year-old Muslim student at Wanstead High School in London, won a regional final of the Jack Petchey ‘Speak Out’ Challenge with her speech entitled ‘Birds not Bombs’, in which she describes how Palestinians suffer at the hands of the Zionist regime, Israel.
She also spoke of how her baby cousin in Gaza died due to basic medical aid – a result of Israel’s blockade.
Organisers Speakers Trust voted “unanimously” to ban her from going through to the final of the competition.
They also removed the video from the ‘Speak Out Challenge’ website and their YouTube channel (which has been re-uploaded here).
Julie Holness, CEO of the Speakers Trust, alleged that Ms Mohamad had breached “two fundamental rules that are made explicit during the training”.
She said: “There are two fundamental rules that are made explicit during the training: the speech must have a positive and uplifting message – in fact this is one of the core terms of the agreement with the Jack Petchey Foundation [and] a speaker should never inflame or offend the audience or insult others and this, by definition, means that propaganda is ruled out absolutely from the outset.
Since this has happened Ms Mohamad has received online abuse from Israel’s supporters and had to involve the Police to investigate further.
How could Leanne have won the regional competition if her speech broke any rules? Also, how is her message not an uplifting one? She made a powerful case for peace – what is offensive about that?
This is just an attempt to silence yet another pro-Palestinian voice.
1) Contact Speakers Trust to complain about their pathetic reasoning and decision to ban Ms Mohamad.
- Email – Becky.firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call – 02079227902
- Twitter – @SpeakersTrust – https://twitter.com/SpeakersTrust
- Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/SpeakerstTrust
2) Contact Wanstead High (Ms Mohamad’s school) about their complicity in not defending their student.
- Email the Headteacher – email@example.com (put ‘FAO Mr Hamlyn’ in the subject heading)
- Twitter – @WansteadHighSch – https://twitter.com/WansteadHighSch
3) Sign this petition in support of Leanne Mohamad – https://www.change.org/p/jack-petchey-foundation-uncensor-british-palestinian-award-winning-schoolgirl
4) Send a message of support to Ms Mohamad – she needs to know we support her and her right to speak out! Twitter – @LeanneMohamad
5) Share this alert with everyone so that they can action it too and forward to others!
Please inform us how Speakers Trust and others responds to you so that we can hold them to account.
If you would like to support the work MPACUK is doing in tackling Islamophobia, please donate to us via this link – www.mpacuk.org/donations/
MPACUK have been in touch with Speakers Trust about Leanne Mohamad’s Nakba speech and how the whole thing has been handled.
Speakers Trust release new statement about Leanne Mohamad’s Nakba speech – but it just raises even more questions! Full article here.