UK revokes Palestinian student’s visa after she expressed ‘pride’ over October 7 attacks

Manchester University law student Dana Abuqamar is appealing the Home Office’s decision, calling it ‘completely baseless’


University of Manchester law student Dana Abuqamar is fighting a Home Office decision to revoke her student visa after she expressed "pride" and "joy" over Hamas' October 7 attacks in Israel. (Photo: Screenshot via Al Jazeera)

The UK has revoked the visa of a Palestinian student at the University of Manchester after statements she made during a pro-Palestine demonstration last year.

Final year law student Dana Abuqamar, 19, told Al Jazeera that the Home Office withdrew her visa over concerns that she poses a “national threat” after expressing pride for the October 7 Hamas attacks and saying, “We are full of joy at what has happened.”

“This is the first time that something like this happened in modern-day history – for 16 years Gaza has been under blockade and for the first time they’re actively resisting, they’re not on the defense, and that is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Abuqamar said during the speech in question. "We are both in fear of how Israel will retaliate, but also we are full of pride, and full of joy at what has happened.

Abuqamar, who leads the Friends of Palestine group at the University of Manchester, told Al Jazeera last week: “Essentially the Home Office claims that my presence in the UK threatens national security; they have said that the statements that I've made support some sort of extremist views,” she said. “Keep in mind, I am a 19-year-old law student – all I have done in life is go to school and receive an education and advocate for social justice.”

She added that her legal team has “launched a human rights appeal against the Home Office’s egregious decision” to revoke her student visa and called the decision “completely baseless.”

“Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right here in the UK, but it clearly does not seem to apply to people of colour or ethnic minorities, and especially not to Muslims and Palestinians like myself,” Abuqamar added.

A spokesperson for the Home Office said they do not comment on individual cases but noted that “under the Immigration Rules, entry clearance and permission to enter or stay must be cancelled if the person’s presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good.”

“Behaviour deemed non-conducive to the public good includes instances where people have engaged in unacceptable or extremist behaviour, such as activity which fosters hatred which may lead to inter-community violence, or where the person is associated or has been associated with people involved in terrorism.”

The statement concluded that such decisions are taken following “careful consideration of the specific facts of the case.”

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