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Post  AnnaEsse on Wed 15 Aug - 8:06

One of the sons of the refugee mother shows his ‘gratitude’ yesterday

By Cyril Dixon

A FAMILY of refugees provoked outrage yesterday by saying they “deserve” to live in a £1.25million taxpayer-funded luxury home despite trashing it.
Neighbours of mother-of-seven Manal Mahmoud, a jobless Palestinian refugee, have been driven to despair after years of antisocial behaviour.

One son has been jailed for drug-dealing, another made offensive gestures at onlookers yesterday and the police have been called regularly since the family moved into the riverside London terraced house three years ago.

The family is one of at least 100 living in homes on state handouts that could fund £1million mortgages.
Mrs Mahmoud gets £20,000 a year in housing benefits to pay her rent. Yet she said: “I don’t care if people think I am not grateful. I am entitled to live in a house like this even if I don’t pay for it.

“I deserve to live in a nice house and get benefits because I am human.”

She dismissed suggestions she is abusing British hospitality after fleeing here 12 years ago, saying: “In this country, it is our right to live here. It is important for my kids to have space to play.”

She has since split with her husband and was given British citizenship five years ago but has never worked in this country.

She moved with her two sons and five daughters to the three-bedroom house in Fulham, west London, three years ago.
It had just undergone a £76,000 refurbishment, half paid for by the taxpayer.

The Victorian house is in an exclusive street just a stone’s throw from the River Thames. But the private landlord has found doors missing or hanging off, walls scrawled on, and the driveway smashed up.

Yesterday the lawn was overgrown, motorcycle parts and rubbish were strewn around the front garden and an old sofa and chair were piled up in the driveway.

Mrs Mahmoud said defiantly: “I know the house doesn’t look its best. I don’t try to maintain and repair the house. I don’t fix the tiles or paint the walls.
“I haven’t got enough money to fix up the house. It would cost so much money and I only have my benefits.”

She insisted Hammersmith and Fulham Council is trying to evict her family because they “keep listening to our rich neighbours and not us”.

She claims her family is being persecuted because neighbours “don’t want a foreigner to come and live in this street”.
Her 17-year-old son Ziad shouted abuse when asked about the family’s conduct.

His elder brother Ossama, 19, is in Norwich Prison after being jailed for drug dealing earlier this year.

Yet Mrs Mahmoud, who also claims a range of other benefits, said: “I don’t think there is anything wrong with the way me and my family behave.

“Sometimes it can be noisy, and the police sometimes do come around, but we haven’t had any trouble in the past six months.
“I know I have a son who makes trouble but that does not mean all my children are the same.”

Council officials will go to court tomorrow to try to get the family thrown out.
Last night campaigners hit out at the abuse of Britain’s welfare system.

Gerard Batten, home affairs spokesman for the UK Independence Party, added: “We are extending the hand of friendship to refugees and they pay us back like this?
“If we accept refugees and they turn out to engage in anti-social behaviour we should be able to kick them out.

“Asylum and refuge are not absolute rights. They depend on the recipient behaving in a fitting manner and if they don’t they should go.”

Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Mrs Mahmoud’s attitude towards her ‘entitlement’ to a lavish taxpayer-funded home will stick in the throat of people taking tough decisions about their own housing arrangements.” Councillor Greg Smith, deputy leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council, said: “We have warned this family they face eviction if their appalling behaviour does not improve.”

The property is owned by private landlord Sue Cummings, but the council leases it to the Mahmouds with housing benefit capped at £395 a week.
One neighbour who did not want to be named, said: “They ride motorbikes up and down the road doing wheelies. They avoid contact and there’s spitting in the street.”
Two years ago it emerged that a family of Somalian asylum-seekers were receiving £1.2million a year to live in Kensington, west London.

Of the 100-plus families thought to be put up in such lavish homes at taxpayer expense, the Department for Work and Pensions said 60 have their rent paid by the state to the value of £5,000 a month.
It says reforms will cap annual benefits at £26,000.


"You can run on for a long time, Run on for a long time, Run on for a long time, Sooner or later God'll cut you down." (Johnny Cash)


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