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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

UK government severs ties with Muslim Council of Britain

From the Guardian, March 8:
One of the UK's most influential Islamic leaders, who has helped counter extremism in the country's mosques, is accused of advocating attacks on the Royal Navy if it tries to stop arms for Hamas being smuggled into Gaza.

Dr Daud Abdullah, deputy director-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, is facing calls for his resignation, after it emerged that he is one of 90 Muslim leaders from around the world who have signed a public declaration in support of Hamas and military action.

Abdullah's name appears as a signatory to a declaration in Istanbul last month that describes Israel's recent military campaign as "the manifest victory which Allah has granted us in the land of Gaza". It opposes the "so-called Arab peace initiative" and the Palestinian Authority and issues a series of obligations to the "Islamic Nation", calling on it to "carry on with the jihad and resistance against the occupier until the liberation of all Palestine".

Obligation six declares that Muslims must seek to open the crossings in Palestine so that "money, clothing, food, medicine, weapons and other essentials" can enter Gaza and Palestinians "are able to live and perform the jihad in the way of Allah Almighty".

It warns: "The closure of the crossings, or the prevention of the entry of weapons through them, should be regarded as high treason in the Islamic Nation, and clear support for the Zionist enemy."

The most contentious obligation instructs Muslims to attack foreign navies. In January, Gordon Brown offered Royal Navy resources to help monitor events in Gaza and to stop weapons being smuggled into the territory.

But, according to the Istanbul declaration, there is an obligation for "the Islamic Nation to regard the sending of foreign warships into Muslim waters, claiming to control the borders and prevent the smuggling of arms to Gaza, as a declaration of war, a new occupation, sinful aggression, and a clear violation of the sovereignty of the Nation". It continues: "This must be rejected and fought by all means and ways."

Two other prominent British Muslims ' names also appear as signatoriesto the declaration: Mohammed Sawalha, an organiser of Islam Expo, the huge annual gathering of Muslims in east London, added his name to the list; and Sheikh Rashid al-Ghannoushi of the Tunisian an-Nahdhah party, who resides in the UK, also signed.
And from the Guardian, March 23:
The government has suspended ties with Britain's largest Muslim group and demanded that one of its leaders should be removed from office for allegedly supporting violence against Israel.

The news comes on the eve of the launch of a major government strategy aimed at fostering closer ties with Muslims to help counter the threat of Islamist terrorism.

Hazel Blears, secretary of state for communities and local government, wrote to the MCB saying Abdullah should be asked to "resign his post" for signing a statement that supported Hamas and celebrated its "victory" against "this malicious Jewish Zionist war over Gaza".

Abdullah, speaking for the first time about the row, told the Guardian he would not be standing down.

He said of his views: "If British troops were to engage in a breach of international law, it is up to the people of the territory to decide what to do. But as I understand it, under international law, it is their right to resist."

He defended signing the statement, saying: "It made no specific mention of attacks on British troops. The statement does say if foreign troops enter Gaza's territorial waters, it is the duty of Muslims to resist, as it would be seen as assisting the siege."

Later, in an email, Abdullah said: "I did not and do not condone calls for attacks on British troops.

"The British government has not deployed troops to the territorial waters of Gaza and I do not believe it or our parliament would endorse any breach of international law.

An MCB spokesman today condemned the government for trying to interfere in its internal affairs and said the cabinet minister's demand would be ignored: "The MCB is a democratic organisation, with its own affiliates, and they decide who its representatives are, and not Ms Blears."
Notice that the MCB still enthusiastically supports Hamas attacks against civilians and is angry over anyone suggesting otherwise.

Kudos to the Hazel Blears for a baby step in fighting extremism and exposing the twisted agenda of the MCB.