‘I got depressed after I was subjected to racial abuse on Twitter’ – First British Muslim astronaut Hussain Manawer tells school pupils to ‘block and report’ anyone criticising them on social media
- Credit: Archant
‘Block them, de-friend them and report them’ – that’s how you should deal with anyone who puts you down on social media according to the man set to become Britain’s first Muslim astronaut.
Hussain Manawer delivered the timely message during a laugh-a-minute assembly to pupils at Stevenage’s Barnwell Middle School this morning.
Incredibly the founder of the successful Hussain’s House YouTube channel saw off more than 30,000 others from 90 countries to win a trip into space by delivering a winning speech about mental health problems suffered by young people.
Today the 26-year-old was in town with his own school friend, singer and rapper J Sol, not so much to talk about his space flight scheduled for 2018, but to tell pupils about how to look after their minds – especially when using social media.
The poet, charity fundraiser and social campaigner will blast off to 60 miles above the earth on-board the XCOR Aerospace owned Lynx Space Expedition plane.
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He claimed the amazing prize after winning the Kruger Cowne rising star competition by submitting a video performance of his poem about his own battle with depression.
After winning, he dedicated the space trip to “every single person who has suffered from mental health problems”.
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Today he delivered a sparkling performance, trading jokes with J Sol and delighting the pupils with a poignant poem about his school days.
Abut the dangers to mental health caused by social media, he told them: “No-one has the right to ruin your experience of the internet and ruin your mood by posting things about you.
“It’s best to talk to your teachers about it, block and report them, and keep your accounts private.”
Hussain said he suffered racial abuse after he was awarded the space flight which he was subjected to on Twitter.
Speaking to the Comet, he said: “It’s very important for us to come into schools and take it upon ourselves to talk about this, because we have experienced it and we know the harm it can cause.
“The more successful you get, the worse it can get.
“These days with the internet it’s so much more difficult to keep sane.”
After he won the competition in 2015, Hussain’s acceptance speech at a world youth forum earned him a standing ovation from the crowd.
He spoke on behalf of “two billion sane Muslims on the planet”, saying he stood in support of the war on terror.
Asked by the Comet about the terror attacks carried out by ISIS, he said: “I wouldn’t call them Muslims, that’s not what we believe in.
“True Muslims preach love and unity.”
Speaking about the upcoming space flight, he added: “I’m honoured to be representing Britain. The platform provides me with the opportunity to campaign on the issues I believe in.”
Since winning he has begun training for the space flight and has shot to fame as a campaigner, staging the largest mental health lesson for 1,000 students from 30 schools at Hackney Empire in London.
He has also fronted a national advertising campaign for the Night Tube in London.
Even before winning the space travel competition, Hussain had raised thousands of pounds for charities and given lessons on cyber bullying in 400 schools. His successful YouTube channel, Hussain’s House, features interviews with the comedian Kevin Hart, rapper G-Eazy and radio presenter Charlamagne, and he was a torchbearer in the build-up to the London 2012 Olympics.