A Black Lives Matter activist, who was instrumental in organising the infamous protest that saw the statue of Sir Edward Colston torn down and thrown in the Bristol Harbour, has been jailed for fraud after using donations intended for a children’s charity on herself.
Xahra Saleem, born Yvonne Maina, a founding member of the BLM offshoot All Black Lives Bristol activist group, has been jailed for two and a half years after being found guilty of stealing £32,344 in charitable donations to a local children’s group, Changing Your Mindset, which had planned to use the money to fund a trip to Africa for disadvantaged children in the area.
Saleem was found to have taken the money and used it to enrich herself, purchasing an iPhone, a computer, takeaway food, and beauty products as well as spending £5,800 of the donations on Uber taxi rides over the 11 months up until June of 2021, the Times of London reported.
The BLM activist, who appeared in court in a Hijab, was told at her sentencing hearing that she had abused the trust of the charity and had caused “serious detriment to the victims”.
The court heard that Saleem had given the charity various excuses as to why she continued to refuse to hand over the GoFundMe donations, including that “some of the people the charity had worked with had made homophobic comments”.
The Black Lives Matter activist later claimed that she had been hospitalised for psychosis and that the money was gone, telling the group: “I am so sorry, I am trying to understand my actions as well. I take full responsibility… as my actions have consequences I don’t want to pardon myself from them.”
Saleem went on to tell the charity that she would voluntarily turn herself in to the police, but after she did not, she was arrested by Avon and Somerset Police officers arrested in July of 2021.
Black Lives Matter Activist Pleads Guilty to Fraud for Missing Donations https://t.co/QKYYFEHSsB
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 29, 2023
A month before her arrest, she sent a message to a friend which stated: “I have done something horrendous, you can’t tell anyone until I have sorted it out. I get really bad psychosis which I have mentioned to psychiatrists. This charity asked me to hold money for them, God knows why. Let’s just say my brain spent it. I can’t tell you what, where or why. I don’t know what I spent it on.”
Following the sentencing, a member of the defrauded charity — which shut down after having the money stolen — Deniesha Royal said: “It doesn’t feel that justice has been fully served as we are unlikely to get back the money from her selfish actions.
“It feels like we are being punished. It saddens me that a member of our community could do this to us because they knew and understood the goal we set out to achieve in order to positively change our community.”
The group went on to reveal that a youth whom they were supporting had died of a stabbing after the charity shut down. They claimed that the death of the young man, who was a cousin of Saleem’s, could have been prevented had the fraud not led to the charity being wound up.
After the death of George Floyd in the United States, Saleem helped organise a protest in Bristol that saw the statue of 17th-century merchant and parliamentarian Sir Edward Colston toppled, defaced, and pushed into the local harbour in June of 2020 over his role in the Transatlantic slave trade.
Four leftist activists were charged with the destruction of the Colston statue. While they admitted to being involved in the act, they were acquitted last year after their lawyers successfully convinced a jury that they were on the “right side of history“.
BLM Statue Toppling: Colston Four Case Found Not Guilty https://t.co/V18k1i1kpB
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 6, 2022