The Voice sensation Mennel Ibtissem already under fire for pro-Palestinian stance

Culture & Entertainment
Mennel Ibtissem. Photo: YouTube screeenshot


Mennel Ibtissem, a 22-year-old French-Arab singer, became the internet’s latest singing sensation when she stunned the jury and audience of The Voice France, a popular reality TV show and singing competition, with her rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”.


During the blind audition on February 4, Mennel started her song in English, switched to a French take of the first verse, and then transitioned into Arabic, with the Hallelujah refrain replaced with “Ya Ilahi” (‘My god’ in Arabic). All four judges, including Lebanese-born singer Mika, gave their approval shortly after the first verse.

Born to a Syrian-Turkish father and a Moroccan-Algerian mother, the hijabi singer had already released four videos on her YouTube channel before she shot to fame on TV. However, her new online popularity has led to less-than-generous scrutiny as well.


After The Voice aired on Saturday, her posts on Palestine and the terror attacks in France were soon singled out. Websites criticised her pro-Palestinian stance as well as her posts in support of Tariq Ramadan, the Oxford professor who accused of sexual misconduct. Mennel responded to her critics on Twitter, saying that saying her posts were taken out of context and do not reflect her point of view.


Back on The Voice, Mennel has decided to join Mika’s team, and she will be trained by him in the upcoming episodes.

Mennel Ibtissem

 Mennel Ibtissem.