As the Gaza conflict was drawing to a close, Gordon Brown made the following proposal:
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has offered British naval resources to help monitor events in the Gaza conflict and stop weapons being smuggled in.
He wants to help ensure protection and monitoring of the crossings into Gaza.
This morning, the Observer reports:
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, who led the MCB’s boycott of Holocaust Memorial Day, was a member of the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board, the body endorsed by the government that trains imams and was set up to curtail the activities of extremist clerics. In January, he briefed the home secretary, Jacqui Smith, and communities secretary Hazel Blears on the situation in Gaza and its likely impact on social cohesion in the UK.
There were calls last night for the government and the MCB to condemn Abdullah’s actions. “The British government should stop funding organisations such as the MCB and supporting events such as Islam Expo, which hosts scholars from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan who hold extremist views,” said Irfan Al Alawi, international director of the Centre for Islamic Pluralism.
“If the MCB is serious about tackling extremism, it should immediately expel extremists such as Daud Abdullah from its own ranks,” said Ed Husain, co-director of the Quilliam Foundation, a counter-extremism thinktank. “The man is a fanatic.”
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.”
Husain accused Abdullah of “betraying the Palestinian people”. He added: “As well as potentially endorsing terrorism against British troops, Abdullah shows total disregard for human life.”
Muslim World News has the declaration. Here are the key passages:
5. The obligation of the Islamic Nation to find a fair formula of reconciliation between the sons of the Palestinian people, under whose responsibility a legitimate authority will be formed that will attend to the fixed norms and the legitimate and national rights; and will carry on with the jihad and Resistance against the occupier until the liberation of all Palestine.
6. The obligation of the Islamic Nation to open the crossings — all crossings — in and out of Palestine permanently, in order to allow access to all the needs of the Palestinians — money, clothing, food, medicine, weapons and other essentials, so that they are able to live and perform the jihad in the way of Allah Almighty. 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.
7. The obligation of the Islamic Nation to regard everyone standing with the Zionist entity, whether countries, institutions or individuals, as providing a substantial contribution to the crimes and brutality of this entity; the position towards him is the same as towards this usurping entity.
8. The obligation of 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. This must be rejected and fought by all means and ways.
To conclude: the Nation’s scholars and proselytisers remind the Islamic Nation, rulers and ruled alike, of the necessity of returning to its religion, adhering to the book of its Lord and the sunna of his Prophet, working for its unity, and seizing control of the instruments of power that will make possible its supremacy and the preservation of its holy places and provisions
The BBC’s report of this eventa few weeks ago disclosed:
In closed meetings after sessions delegates focussed on the creation of a “third Jihadist front” – the first two being Afghanistan and Iraq.
There are few more senior Islamists in Britain than Daud Abdullah. He was very nearly the first Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain of African heritage. However – some believe, because he is black – Abdullah was told to step aside in favour of the doltish Abdul Bari, who is aligned with the South Asian clerical fascist party, Jamaat-e-Islami. And, so the Observer discloses, Abdullah wasn’t the only British jihadist at this conference:
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.
But! But! Aren’t they supposed to be moderates as well? Isn’t Ghannoushi the Islamist who the “moderate Muslim Brotherhood” crowd have identified as a peaceful, almost social democratic partner for the West? One of the speakers at the Demos-BMI conference where he spoke with the other moderate Islamist, Tariq Ramadan, on the subject of “Islamism and Human Rights“? The man for whom Carter-Ruck managed to secure a huge libel pay out, on the basis that “I have always condemned all forms of terrorist activity”? The father of the lovely Soumaya? And Mohammed Sawalha, the President of the British Muslim Initiative, the ‘Manager of the Political Committee of the Muslim Brotherhood in the United Kingdom“, according to the Muslim Brotherhood’s website? Say it ain’t so! Is this the end for Abdullah?
A spokeswoman for the Department of Communities and Local Government said: “We are aware of the conference held in Istanbul last month and are very concerned that the statement from the event calls for direct support for acts of violence in the Middle East and beyond. We are also aware that a senior member of the MCB may have been a signatory to this statement. If it is proven that the individual concerned had been a signatory, we would expect [the MCB] to ask him to resign and to confirm its opposition to acts of violent extremism.”
What do you think will happen? The “moderate Muslim Brotherhood” thesis holds that, if only we “make nice” with the fluffier sort of Islamist, they’ll “make nice” with us. The actions of Abdullah, Sawalha and Ghannoushi show that the moment they’re in front of an Islamist audience, the talk immediately turns to jihad. If Britain disagrees – well, then we are fair game for them. There is no way to ride this tiger.