Black Lives Matter fraudster Xahra Saleem jailed for stealing money meant for youth group she spent on lifestyle 'she couldn't afford'

Thursday 2 November 2023

A Black Lives Matter activist has been jailed for two and a half years for spending money raised for charity on a lifestyle she "couldn't afford."

Xahra Saleem, now 23, was a high profile member of BLM marches in Bristol in response to the murder of black man George Floyd by police in the US.

Saleem, from Romford, east London, previously pleaded guilty to fraud by abusing her position as director of Changing Your Mindset Ltd, by transferring monies to her personal bank accounts and then spending it between June 2020 and September 2021.

Black Lives Matter (BLM) organiser Xahra Saleem was charged with two counts of fraud by abuse of position after a police investigation into two fundraising pages (image: PA Images)

Judge Michael Longman, sentencing at Bristol Crown Court, said Saleem had gained a high public profile from her BLM involvement and she had used it, with the help of others, to raise money to try to support young people in the St Paul’s area of Bristol.

According to police there were more than 2,500 payments made to Saleem’s account from donations totalling £32,344, including standard living expenses such as general shopping and bills, plus a new iPhone, hair and beauty appointments, clothes stores, Amazon purchases, taxis and takeaways.

Due to her trusted position within the movement, Saleem offered "in gratitude" to set up a fundraising page with the money raised being earmarked for projects to help the young in St Paul’s.

Making the page coincided with demonstrations in Bristol that ended with a statue of prominent slaver Edward Colston being toppled into the city’s harbour.

Xahra Saleem leaves Bristol Magistrates' Court after a hearing (image credit: PA Images)

During protests related to the death of George Floyd in the US, and the subsequent global BLM movement, the on June 7, 2020, during protests

The page raised tens of thousands of pounds following the BLM protest, which gained world-wide attention, but none of the money is alleged to have arrived with the charity.

Saleem was also charged in relation to a second page, called 'Bristol Protesters Legal Fees', in the wake of the statue incident.

In a statement released after the hearing, Jay Daley and Deneisha Royal from the youth group Changing Your Mindset said they continued to feel let down.

They said: 'It doesn't feel that justice has been fully served as we are unlikely to get back the money from her. 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.

'For me the group was a safe place. A refuge that I could relax without concern for my safety.

'For some members it was an opportunity to cook a meal, collect donations and receive support for mental health as well as learn about new things such as employment opportunities.

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