Some of Britain’s most senior Muslim leaders have said they “denounce Hamas’s killing and abduction of innocent people” on 7 October and have steered clear of apportioning blame for the Gaza hospital killings.
In a significant intervention by leading Muslim clerics in the UK on the war between Hamas and Israel, clerics say they “unequivocally condemn the killing of civilians” in both Israel and Gaza, in a statement seen by Jewish News.
Signed by some of the most influential figures in the British Muslim community, it includes condemnation of the IDF’s “excessive” use of force and calls for humanitarian aid to be let into the Gaza Strip.
In the letter, the 15 imams and scholars urged “restraint from Israel”, saying: “We denounce Hamas’s killing and abduction of innocent people on 7 October as well as the Israeli military’s subsequent use of excessive force.”
The statement is significant because, until now, there has been a perceived reluctance from some representatives of the British Muslim community to publicly criticise Hamas’s actions for fear of being seen to be criticising all Palestinians.
The religious leaders, however, were careful to draw a distinction, saying: “The complete siege of Gaza has resulted in immense suffering and recent actions are intensifying a humanitarian crisis of untold proportions upon Palestinians, who are not responsible for the actions of Hamas.”
As the number of anti-Jewish incidents increases across Europe, the faith leaders say they “utterly condemn all acts of antisemitism or Islamophobia that have taken place on our streets here in Britain,” adding that “no-one should feel unsafe in their own neighbourhoods and in this country”.
Among those signing the letter were Qari Asim, the imam of the Makkah Masjid Mosque in Leeds who, until last year, was the deputy chair of the government’s Anti-Muslim Hatred Working Group. Another was Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, a senior imam from Leicester and former Assistant Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain.
This week, Mogra stood alongside the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg of Masorti UK to condemn the “deplorable” incidents of antisemitic hate crimes on British streets.
Other signatories include Shaykh Abdul Hakim Murad, Dean of Cambridge Muslim College and Shaykh Arif Abdul Hussain, Founder of the Al-Mahdi Institute. — *Statement* We, the undersigned British Muslims, unequivocally condemn the killing of civilians in Israel and Gaza.
As we watch the heart-wrenching scenes of Al Ahli Arab Hospital burning, we are reminded that the killing and destruction against innocent men, women and children is deplorable and is contrary to the principles of justice and humanity that we hold dear in our faith.
We denounce Hamas’ killing and abduction of innocent people on the 7th of October 2023 as well as the Israeli military’s subsequent use of excessive force. We urge the government of Israel to act with restraint and within the boundaries of international law.
The complete siege on Gaza has resulted in immense suffering and recent actions are intensifying a humanitarian crisis of untold proportions upon Palestinians, who are not responsible for the actions of Hamas.
We also appeal to the international community to pursue diplomatic and political avenues to peace. The current crisis has shown the failure of international initiatives, but it is surely only through diplomacy that we can achieve lasting peace in the Holy Land.
We call for an end to all hostilities and urge our government to urgently step up efforts to ensure international humanitarian law and human rights are upheld, and to negotiate a ceasefire that can stop the further killing of innocent people. We also utterly condemn all acts of Antisemitism or Islamophobia that have taken place on our streets here in Britain.
No-one should feel unsafe in their own neighbourhoods and in this country. Mutual respect and dialogue between Muslim and Jewish communities at home and abroad, along with a shared commitment to peace, justice, and the safety of all communities are ever more important.
We also affirm the right of communities across the country to show their solidarity and support for both Palestinians and Israelis caught up in this conflict, in line with British laws surrounding freedom of speech and protest.
We pray for peace and justice and for an end to this cyclical conflict. – Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra Imam Qari Asim Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad Shaykh Dr Musharraf Hussein Shaykh Dr Khalifa Ezzat Shaykha Saleha Islam Shaykh Mufti Faiz Rasool Shaykh Masood Akhtar Hazarvi Shaykh Arif Abdul Hussain Dr Ali-Reza Bhojani Shaykh Umar Hayat Qadri Imam Ijaz Ahmad Shaami Imam Dr Muhammad Munir Imam Zeeshan Baloch Dr Abdullah Sahin
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