The government had previously downgraded its relationship with the MCB, formally everyone’s favourite Muslim quango, in the autumn of 2006. Back then the full extent of the knowdledge of the close ties it’s head honchos enjoy with the Muslim Brotherhood and Jamaat-e-Islam were only partially apparent. This time round, the break looks permanent, withÂ Hazel Blears demanding the MCB sack Daud Abdullah after he was found to have signed what is being referred to as the Istanbul Declaration.
The council’s deputy secretary-general, Daud Abdullah, signed a declaration last month that the government and critics of the MCB have interpreted as calling for violence against Israel and condoning attacks on British troops.
The declaration followed a meeting in Istanbul of clerics and other Muslim leaders from around the world to discuss strategy after Israel’s attacks on Gaza.
Here is an English translation of the text of the Declaration.
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.
In spite of the uncompromising and ultimatory nature of the wording of the Istanbul Declaration, Daud Abdullah has issued a swift denial to the Guardian.
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.
“Any discussions about what should or would happen is hypothetical and I cannot speculate.”
The last statement seems to contradict article 8 of the Declaration he has signed and championed. The statement “must be rejected and fought by all means and ways” is NOT hypothetical at all.
Daud Abdullah must have known that Gordon Brown had suggested sending troops to in order to stop smuggling into Gaza? Whether Dr Abdullah signed because of or in spite of that knowledge or whether it was hypothetical or speculative is academic. But it does raise some interesting questions on the kind role the MCB is prepared to play in the fight against extremism in the UK. Starting with ‘will the real Daud Abdullah please stand up’?
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