A British-Palestinian woman, Leanne Mohammed, has launched her bid to become an MP in the next UK general election. She is standing as an independent candidate for North Ilford, a constituency in east London.
Ms. Mohammed, who was born and grew up in London, studied at King’s College University, one of the UK’s top academic institutions.
الشابة الفلسطينية ليان محمد تعلن ترشحها رسميا كشخص مستقل لانتخابات البرلمان البريطاني المقبلة ممثلةً عن منطقة شمال إلفورد في #لندن ومنافسة للنائب الحالي للمنطقة ويس ستريتنج الذي تلقى انتقادات شديدة من سكان دائرته الانتخابية بسبب موقفه المتخاذل من العدوان على #غزة… pic.twitter.com/ZyTz0s263z
— AUK العرب في بريطانيا (@AlARABINUK) January 15, 2024
She won a regional public speaking contest in 2016, with a passionate speech about the plight of the Palestinians, titled “Birds, Not Bombs”. She urged the audience to support peace, freedom and justice, and to oppose the oppression faced by Palestinian children.
Since then, Ms Mohammed has been active in campaigning for Palestinian rights and human rights in general. She has taken part in various university events and conferences on Palestine.
Leanne Mohammed: A British-Palestinian Activist and Politician
She joined the protests that erupted across the UK in support of Palestine and said to a media outlet: “The 150,000-strong march for Gaza gave us hope amid the horror that Gaza is facing. The march lifted our spirits and showed us that we have allies in our fight for justice and freedom.”
She added: “We have to keep working and claiming the rights of our kin and forefathers.”
In her speech “Birds, Not Bombs”, which she gave at the UK Redbridge Regional – Speak out contest, she also highlighted the expulsion of the Palestinians from their homeland in 1948.
The hashtag (letleannespeak) soon went viral on social media, and Leanne got backing and sympathy from activists who care about the Palestinian cause.
Leanne has kept up her support for human rights, in parliament and in rallies and conferences and events at home and abroad, seven years after taking part in the contest.
Leanne spoke about the war in Gaza, saying: “The world is opening its eyes now, but no one should be shocked by what is going on in Gaza; because everything that is happening today is connected to the world.”
Leanne noted that the Palestinian resistance against the Israeli colonial occupation has lasted for decades.
She said: “What occurred in the recent period is a reflection of a long history of Israeli abuses and the continuous military occupation and the system of apartheid and the blockade on Gaza for 16 years.”
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She added: “The Palestinians have endured displacement for 75 years.”
“The long history of occupation is the main cause of this cycle of violence, and the Western governments are accountable for the pain of the Palestinians, including the British government.”
She also said: “Israel has launched a genocide war on the Palestinian people with the help of the British government.”
She asserted that the British government’s silence on Israel shows clear collusion, especially after the British government stifled the activities for Palestine and illuminated the government buildings with the Israeli flag.
She added: “The British government is an accomplice of Israel in the crimes against the Palestinians, and the government has demonstrated its unwavering support for Israel, and gave it the go-ahead to commit genocide.”
“We face today the creation of a hostile environment for the Palestinians, where we cannot voice our views without being exposed to violence because of the mix-up between the notion of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel, as defined by the Israeli constitution.”
“This poses a huge risk to the basic rights of the Palestinians, which are part of human rights.”
She added: “Taking a stand that calls for justice in Palestine must go along with opposing apartheid, oppression, discrimination, anti-Semitism and normalisation with war crimes and racism.”
Lian belongs to a Palestinian family, whose members fled the Palestinian Nakba in 1948, which is happening again according to Lian.