The Muslim Council of Britain is under official interdiction from the British government after one of its leaders, Daud Abdullah, attended a conference on Gaza in Istanbul which agreed an outspoken declaration of Islamist principles. Hazel Blears takes particular exception to two paragraphs, which appear to treat international forces in the area - potentially including British forces and ships - as the enemy. But the document, signed by Dr Abdullah apparently without reservation, contains considerably more than that. It withholds from Israel even the recognition of its name, preferring to call it the "Jewish Zionist occupying entity". It declares that the Palestinian authority is illegitimate, and that all Arab governments are traitors to Islam. It invokes the blessings of Allah upon global Jihad, which it declares to be a religious duty. And it looks forward to the day when the whole of Palestine is in Muslim hands.
That a senior MCB representative could sign such a document, without apparently realising that it was potentially controversial, demonstrates beyond doubt the full-blown Islamist character of the Muslim Council of Britain. Preferring to draw attention to Blears' "interference" - in calling for his resignation - Abdullah is entirely unrepentant about the document, though cagey about its precise contents. If the Muslim community in Britain is to be represented by an "umbrella body", then it should be a non-political one which concerns itself primarily with the welfare of Muslims in Britain, most of whom have no personal connection with the Palestinian conflict or indeed with the Arab Middle East. Instead the MCB believes that it best represents Muslims by acting as a conduit for political Islam.
I welcome the fact that the government has suspended its ties to this dangerous organisation. I only regret that it has taken them so long.
The "Istanbul Declaration" is available as a PDF from Harry's Place. For your convenience, however, I reproduce it here in its entirety, with the most "interesting" passages highlighted.
Statement signed by Duad Abdullah, among others
In the name of Allah the Most-merciful the All-merciful
A statement by the religious scholars and proselytisers (du’a) of the Islamic Nation (ummah) to all rulers and peoples concerning events in Gaza
Praise to Allah who strengthened His troops, aided His servants and alone routed the Zionist Jews, who says,
‘It was incumbent on Us to aid the believers.’ [Quran 30:47]
And blessing and peace be on the Imam of the mujahidin who says,
‘There will remain a group of my Ummah adhering to the truth, and those who oppose them will not harm them until Allah’s command comes.’ [Hadith]
This statement is addressed to the Islamic Nation, its religious scholars, its rulers and its peoples. In it we congratulate the whole family of Islam on the manifest victory which Allah has granted us in the land of Gaza, a land of pride and dignity, over the Zionist Jewish occupiers. Allah has appointed it as the first step in the complete victory for all of Palestine and the holy places of the Muslims. Furthermore, we herein emphatically affirm various resolutions and judgments.
I. Affirmation of the following unequivocal resolutions:
1. We affirm that the victory that Allah accomplished by means of our brothers the mujahidin, our defiant and steadfast kinsfolk in Gaza, was indeed achieved through His favor and help - exalted be He! It was also achieved through fulfilling the religious obligation of jihad in His way. This is a confirmation of His statement - sublime is He! -
‘How often a small party overcame a large party, by Allah’s leave.’ [Quran, 2:249]
2. We affirm that this manifest victory has clearly disclosed the volume of international and local military and political conspiracy against the jihad and the mujahidin in Gaza, as represented by the following:
• Military co-operation in tightening the blockade and closing the crossings to the people of Gaza, especially the Rafah crossing
• Public or quasi-public support for the enemy
• The prevention of demonstrations and popular events held in support of the mujahidin; the arrest, trial and severe punishments of those who instigate them
• The aggressive pressure put on the mujahidin to break their will and force them to agree to their [the conspirators] terms and the stipulations of the Zionist enemy
• The attempt to present the Hamas government as the cause of this malicious Jewish Zionist war over Gaza
• The absence of any official and effective Arab and Islamic stance and its weakness in reflecting the will of the Arab and Islamic peoples to help our brothers in Gaza win. This indicates the width of the gap between the Nation and those rulers who lead it
• The use of funds for reconstruction and aid to those hurt as a negative pressure card on the mujahidin to abandon their legitimate demands, or some of them
• The prevention of delivery of aid and reconstruction funds to the Hamas government and the reliable authorities in Gaza; deeming the Palestinian Authority, represented by the presidency of Abbas and the Fayyad government, the sole representative of the Palestinian people, without the Hamas government; and the delivery of such funds and aid to increase their grip on the legitimate elected government of Hamas. This redoubles the suffering of the people of Gaza at the time they mostly need those funds and aid
3. We affirm in full conviction that the Palestinian Authority, whose mandate is coming to an end, is not eligible to represent the Palestinian people. It stands outside the will of its people, and has given up the choice of jihad in the way of Allah Almighty as an effective means in defeating the occupation and the liberation of the Islamic holy places. It adopts the wishes of the Nation’s enemies in exchange for the illusions of false peace.
4. We affirm in full conviction that the so-called Arab peace initiative is a proven betrayal of the Islamic Nation and the Palestinian cause, and a blatant betrayal of the Palestinian people. It aims to criminalise the Resistance [muqawama] against the Zionist occupying entity in perpetuity through its de facto recognition of it, as well as the confiscation of the right of refugees to return to their homes and their property.
II. Affirmation of the following legal judgments:
1. The obligation of the Islamic Nation to rush to the aid of the people in Gaza; to rebuild what the Zionist aggression destroyed; to compensate the injured and support the widows, orphans, those suffering permanent disabilities, and the old and infirm.
2. The obligation of the Islamic Nation to restrict itself to dealing only with the legitimate elected Palestinian government (Hamas) in the delivery of aid and reconstruction of dwellings. It is the sole government authorised to do that by reason of its official legitimacy as well as its maintaining the Resistance against the Jewish Zionist occupation, its integrity, and its solidarity with the people in all circumstances.
3. The obligation of the Islamic Nation not to recognise the Palestinian Authority, whose mandate is ending, as representative of the Palestinian people. It must not elect it again, in view of its proven financial and administrative corruption as well as its squandering of time and assets behind the false peace process. It is also necessary to work seriously to choose a new authority that will guard the Palestinian ranks, respect their will and their right to resist the occupation, and work for the complete liberation of its land and holy places.
4. The obligation of the Islamic Nation to circulate a declaration to withhold aid funds from the undeserving or placing them in the hands of those who are not trustworthy. It must regard this as a legal betrayal that should be prosecuted, and punish those who cause mayhem, negligence and waste of these moneys.
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
‘Allah prevails in his purpose, but most people know not.’ [Quran, 12: 21]).