A U.K Newspaper is reporting that the British government has severed relations with the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) over a statement signed by Dr. Daud Abdullah, the Deputy Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), calling for a “third Jihadist front” centred on Gaza. According to a report in the Independent:
The Government has severed relations with the country’s leading Muslim organisation, saying a senior member is a supporter of Hamas, the Palestinian military organisation. A letter leaked to The Independent on Sunday shows that the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Hazel Blears, wrote to the Muslim Council of Britain, calling for Dr Daud Abdullah to resign. She alleges he was one of 90 Muslim leaders from around the world who signed a public declaration of support for Hamas, the elected government of the Gaza strip in Israel, and military action against Israel. A spokeswoman for the department said: “We are concerned that the statement 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.” Members of the Muslim community reacted angrily to the letter at a conference in Birmingham where they met yesterday to discuss the issue. An MCB spokesperson said: “We will make clear to the Government that as far as the MCB is concerned we utterly condemn the targeting or killing of soldiers anywhere in the world. But the MCB will not be dictated to by Hazel Blears. We do not take orders from Ms Blears. She is mistaken if she thinks the MCB will dismiss people at her say-so.”
The statement resulted from a recent conference in Istanbul and was first reported by the GMBDW based on a translation from Muslim World News. According to his bio, Dr. Abdullah is a specialist in Palestinian”resistance” who has been senior researcher at the Palestinian Return Centre in London which has many ties to the U.K. Muslim Brotherhood. The MCB is an umbrella group for U.K. Islamic organizations that is itself dominated by groups tied to the global Muslim Brotherhood and the the U.K. Brotherhood, as as discussed in an earlier post, has reacted sharply to the whole affair.
Al Aribiya has reported on the reaction of the MCB to the government action calling it “high-handed and condescending action” and saying that it fully backs Dr. Abduallah:
… the council, which is an independent non-government body, rejected Blear’s “high-handed and condescending action” in a press release Sunday and affirmed its commitment to opposing violence, and specifically the “targeting or killing of British soldiers anywhere in the world.””What the British government is trying to do is unprecedented,” Dawud Abdullah told AlArabiya.net. “It has no right to interfere into the affairs of a national body and dictate who should hold office in organization. We have not found evidence where such government meddling took place in the affairs of non-government bodies in the U.K. whether religious or civil,” he added. Abdullah is one of the three officers elected by the British Muslim community. As deputy of MCB he reflects the views of all its affiliates, one of which affirms “the right under international law of the Palestinian people to resist the ongoing illegal and brutal occupation of their land. Committee members of the council affirmed their support of Abdullah at the committee quarterly meeting held late Saturday in Birmingham where they flatly rejected the removal of an elected officer at the behest of government minister.”The committee backs Dr. Dawud Abdullah and refuses that he steps down,” Kamal Halbawy, founding member and a member of the board of advisors told AlArabiya.net. The declaration supporting Gaza which Abdullah signed called for the liberation of Palestinians from the Israeli military occupation and affirmed their right to resist the occupation and referenced Hamas as a democratically elected movement by the people of Gaza.”These principles are consistent with international law and members of the UN are obliged under the charter to assist people to attain their freedom,” said Abdullah, adding that the British government actions are not in line with international law.”The problem with the British government is that it is assisting the occupier when it should assist the occupied,” said Abdullah. As to the future of the MCB’s relationship with the government, Abdullah said it remains open so long as mutual respect is shown.”Our doors are open and we work with government on the basis of mutual respect and honesty and recognition that we are independent body we are equal citizens in this partnership.”