Islamic Human Rights Commission
For immediate release
18th October 1999
ref: South Africa / Free Speech / Rights of the Child
‘From the Heart of Palestine…’
Full text of essay at centre of child rights violations
IHRC has in its possession a copy of the full text of the essay by Layla Cassim, the 14 year old South African student who was subjected to a spate of human rights abuses by her college.
Layla wrote a counter-argument to a Zionist essay on the formation of Israel at the suggestion of her history teacher. What followed from the college authorities was a catalogue of harassment, humiliation and abuse that the South African Human Rights Commission found to have violated Layla’s rights on several counts.
The essay was removed from the board, and Layla received threats from a fundamentalist Jewsih group, the Jewish Defence League. Instead of protecting their student, her college suspended her, and senior college officials made statements in the national media, describing her as ‘pathological,’ ‘anti-Semitic, anti-White,’ and the makings of ‘a good terrorist one day.’ The South African Board of Deputies who have read the article, found nothing anti-Semitic in it.
The SAHRC’s findings would allow Layla to claim for substantial damages for the violation of her rights under South African law and in international human rights treaties. Ironically not only has Layla’s original essay not been exposed to full public attention, the SAHRC’s findings are currently under interdict, preventing their public revelation in South Africa itself.
For further information on the SAHRC’s findings and the above, please contact the Press Officer on (+44) 20 8902 0888, (+44) 958 60 74 75, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Layla Cassim’s essay is attached.
LAYLA CASSIEM’s ESSAY
titled; From the heart of Palestine….
Sometime ago I noticed a huge article on this very noticeboard detailing the origins of Israel, among other things. I felt that this was most unfair and one-sided, seeing that no Palestinian perspective was presented. Consequently my aim is writing this article is to conscientise and educate this predominantly Jewish school on the other side of the story. This is an endeavour to put forth the views of the Palestinian people, a people who have suffered tremendously since the birth of Israel. Way back to the years immediately since the birth of Israel. Way back to the years immediately after the Second World War the Jews set their eyes on Palestine as their future homeland because it was ‘a land without a people for a people without a land’. Of course this was the biggest terminological inexactitude of the country. The Palestinian Foreign Minister agrees and says furthermore that the reason that the West was so eager to set up this ‘Jewish homeland’ was because the West had always had this powerful, deadly need to place a white colony right in the midst of Islam. The Palestinian people have had their land brutally stolen from them. Their lives were battered, their hopes annihilated, they were thrust maliciously into the brewing pot of poverty, indignity and oppression. As long as Israel denies the Palestinians the right to have their land back, it denies and mocks their right to be treated as human beings.
This essay was written by Layla, at the age of 14. She is now 15 years old, and attending a different school.
IHRC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
Telephone: (+44) 20 8904 4222