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‘The injustices we see abroad reflect how governments treat people at home’, says Palestinian candidate running in UK election

British-Palestinian activist, Leanne Mohamad, is standing as an independent candidate in Ilford North. She condemns Labour’s failure to advocate for a Gaza ceasefire and pledges to champion both local and global justice, inspired by her personal heritage and hands-on community work.

June 13, 2024 at 4:30 pm

British-Palestinian Leanne Mohamad, Independent PPC for Ilford North, addresses tens of thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters in Whitehall during a rally to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and an end to Israel’s occupation on 3rd February 2024 in London, United Kingdom. [photo by Mark Kerrison/In Pictures via Getty Images]

As Britain gears up for its next general election, the Labour Party finds itself in the midst of a far-reaching crisis of trust, especially among its Muslim voter base. The Party, under the leadership of “Zionist supporter” Keir Starmer, has faced intense criticism for its handling of the genocide in Gaza, leading to a notable decline in support from the British Muslim community.

This discontent has been driven by Starmer’s initial comments supporting Israel’s right to cut off essential supplies to Gaza, showing a blatant disregard for Palestinian lives. Despite later calls for a “sustainable ceasefire”, the damage to Labour’s reputation was already apparent.

Labour losses 

The fallout from this stance has been stark. Labour’s traditionally strong support among British Muslims has plummeted, with polls showing a drop from 86 per cent to 60 per cent since the 2019 election. This decline has been attributed to the opposition party’s failure to advocate effectively for a ceasefire in Gaza and to address broader concerns about Islamophobia within its ranks. The impact of this shift was evident in May’s local elections, where Labour lost key seats “in places where many people identify as Muslim” and this was “most likely a reflection of their discontent with Labour’s stance on the war in Gaza”.

In such a politically charged environment, it is not surprising that this year’s general election will see a record number of independent candidates standing. Among them is Leanne Mohamad. A British-Palestinian activist and candidate for Ilford North who represents a new wave of political engagement aimed at addressing the failures perceived within the current Labour leadership.

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A personal journey into politics

Leanne Mohamad’s entry into politics is deeply rooted in her personal history and activism

I am a British Palestinian, the grand-daughter of Palestinian refugees expelled during the Nakba of 1948

she tells MEMO. Mohamad’s advocacy for Palestinian rights began at a young age, influenced by her family’s history and her personal experiences. She gained significant attention online for her speech on the Nakba while a secondary school student on “Birds Not Bombs,” as part of the Speak Out Challenge, a stance which saw her expelled from the competition.

During the pandemic, Mohamad’s involvement in local community efforts, such as volunteering at food banks with local Frenford Youth Club, further shaped her political perspective. “This opened my eyes to the hardships faced by our community, working people, and families,” she says. These experiences fuelled her transition into human rights advocacy, driven by a desire to create fairer systems and address systemic neglect.

Standing for Ilford North

Mohamad’s decision to stand for election in Ilford North is based on her commitment to her community and human rights. “We have an MP in Ilford North who refuses to vote for peace and is part of a party that condoned the brutal murder of civilians,” she asserts.

Her candidacy is also driven by a deep connection to the constituency, where she has spent most of her life:

I want to see our people and communities thrive, rather than be taken for granted by successive governments

Addressing Gaza 

The humanitarian crisis in Gaza remains a central issue for Mohamad. She advocates for immediate and decisive actions from the British government to address the urgent needs in the region. “Our current government and MPs’ refusal to call for a ceasefire in Gaza amid Israel’s actions demonstrates a disconnect between political leaders and the people’s views,” she argues.

Her political stance aligns with calls for peace and justice, stressing the need for an arms embargo on the Israeli Occupation state and the prosecution of war criminals to ensure accountability.

The destruction of Palestinian homes, hospitals, schools, universities, churches and mosques is clearly a genocide

Mohamad also calls for Britain to recognise an independent Palestinian State, free from Israeli coercion and Zionist lobbying. She advocates for a move away from an apartheid state to a democratic society in Israel where all people are treated fairly, irrespective of their backgrounds. “This can only be done if the international community places pressure on Israel to comply with international law,” she explains to MEMO.

A message of hope and action

For Mohamad, the situation in Gaza is not just a political issue but a personal one that deeply influences her work. “The reality and consequences of the 1948 Nakba continue to this day,” she says, expressing her commitment to making the world a safer, fairer place. Her message to her constituents in Ilford North is one of hope and collective action.

“Our community in Ilford North has chosen me as an independent candidate because they know my values match their own,” she states.

“Let’s confront the realities of a cost-of-living crisis, protect our NHS and ensure our streets are safe,” Mohamad urges. She calls on her constituents to join her in sending a strong message in the upcoming election: “Together, our courage will build a great future for Ilford North.”

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