A Long Island high school student who made remarks in her graduation speech about the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and Uighur Muslims says she’s being harassed by some parents.
ABC7 News reports that Huda Ayaz described how one parent told her to “go back to Pakistan” and others used expletives to describe her speech.
“Educate yourselves about international dilemmas including the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and Uighur Muslims,” Ayaz told fellow graduates and their families at The Wheatley School in the East Williston School District. “Families are continuously torn apart and real human lives are being lost, but ignored.”
According to News 12, some in the audience interpreted Ayaz speech to be critical of Israel.
“Why didn’t you say anything about Hamas,” someone could be heard saying on video as Ayaz received her diploma.
The school’s principal told parents that Ayaz deviated from her prepared remarks which had been approved earlier. However, Ayaz denies that and said the remarks she gave were in fact approved and even printed for her to read by the school.
“I was not informed that the speech had been edited by the student after it had been selected and approved by the Wheatley Speech Selection Committee,” said high school principal Sean Feeney to ABC7. “As such, while I did read the approved speech, I did not read the final speech before it was presented.”
He said a celebratory graduation is not an appropriate venue for a political speech. He also said its important for people to be respectful even to others they disagree with.
“It is absolutely false to say that Huda deviated from her speech,” says Ahmed Mohamed, with the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “That did not happen. It’s incredible the way the school has reacted to this by throwing a 17-year-old under the bus.”
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