Mayor of London repeats call for Hamas to ‘immediately’ release hostages

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Mayor of London repeats call for Hamas to ‘immediately’ release hostages

Speaking to Jewish News at an Open Iftar Ramadan event in London's Trafalgar Square, Sadiq Khan said: 'We know the pain and the anguish this is causing'

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Sadiq Khan speaking from the stage at the Open Iftar event in Trafalgar Sq
Sadiq Khan speaking from the stage at the Open Iftar event in Trafalgar Sq

Sadiq Khan has repeated his call for Hamas to immediately release the 134 hostages captured in the October 7th terror attacks, adding: “We know the pain and the anguish this is causing.”

Speaking to Jewish News at an Open Iftar Ramadan event in London’s Trafalgar Square, the Mayor of London said: “One of the things I have always sought to do is to remind everyone that there are still 134 hostages taken by Hamas.

“They need to be released immediately. I was so pleased when some were released a few months ago when there was a temporary ceasefire in Gaza.

“We know the pain and the anguish this is causing. We know there are 1,200 families grieving. While at the same time we know there are families also grieving over the terrible loss of life in Gaza.”

Sadiq Khan pictured with members of the community attending the Open Iftar event

Khan stressed that in his view the call for the hostages to be released, and for an end to the loss of innocent lives in Gaza “isn’t simply an issue for Muslims, or Jewish people, this is not an issue just of the Middle East, it’s a question of humanity.”

He continued: “What’s important is that we lobby respective governments to make sure they do more to make sure they end the heartbreak, anguish and concern of those families whose loved ones are still being kept hostage by Hamas.”

Despite the rainy weather, around two thousand people gathered in Trafalgar Square for the open iftar, or fast-breaking meal, including members of the Jewish community.

Rabbi Josh Levy, Rabbi Charley Baginsky, Olivia Marks-Woldman and Laura Marks were among the communal leaders to enjoy the event, a flagship project of the Ramadan Tent Project, which has run since 2013, hosting iftars at some of Britain’s most iconic cultural spaces.

In several other media interviews conducted with television and news broadcasters in the Middle East, Asia and within the wider Islamic world, the Mayor also repeated his call for the release of the hostages held by Hamas, while also calling for the end to the conflict in Gaza.

Open Iftar event in Trafaghar Sq

Asked by one media organisation what he had most enjoyed at the ifar, he responded: “Seeing two rabbis and others from the Jewish community here tonight.”

Speaking for a stage at the event, which is sponsored by the Aziz Foundation, the mayor also said it was a “joy” to see Jewish Londoners join those from other faiths at the iftar.

“These iftars are the best antidotes to those who want to spread hatred,” he added. “We cannot allow them to succeed. That is why the Ramadan Tent project deserves our thanks.”

He added:”Whether you are Muslim or a non-Muslim please make sure you leave here inspired and full of hope.

“I genuinely think that when people across the globe see the beacon that is London. When they see that our diversity is a strength, not a weakness. When we know it makes us richer, not poorer, then we will know that they will not succeed in dividing us against one another. We know what the antidote is.”

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