A news story that broke in Britain in late March and continues to fester in May deserves attention around the world. Its outcome will set a precedent in the worrying war between Western governments and radical Muslims who live and administer Islamic organizations within their sovereignty.
Dr. Daud Abdullah, deputy secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, has taken out a lawsuit against cabinet minster Hazel Blears, secretary for communities, because he believes she defamed him by writing to the Guardian newspaper in late March condemning him after he signed the “Istanbul Declaration.”
Let’s look straightaway at the Istanbul Declaration. To paraphrase its high-velocity language, it says the hatred of and resistance against the occupying Zionist entity must be the same as that towards any individual who supports Israel. Unraveling the flowery syntax, this means that wherever you may find a soul who cares about Israel you must smite him or her as if on a battlefield in “Palestine.”
The Istanbul Declaration scarily goes on to say that the “Islamic nation” must resist and fight in any way possible those who engage in “sinful aggression” and who wish to send warships to the Middle East; those who endeavor to stop arms smuggling to Gaza are threatening the sovereignty of the Islamic nation.
The declaration proclaims the day of liberation of all of Palestine will come when Palestinians “are able to perform the jihad in the way of Allah Almighty.” It praises the troops of Allah who “routed the Zionist Jews” and goes on and on about the “Zionist enemy” and the “malicious Jewish Zionist war.” What is significant about the declaration is its passionate rejection of the so-called Arab peace initiative generated by the Saudis, calling it a betrayal of the Islamic nation because it recognizes the legitimacy of Israel.
It is clear that the declaration is a manifesto to “liberate all of Palestine and the holy places” and therefore assure the destruction of Israel. Any Muslim who causes an obstruction in achieving these goals and in allowing Arabs to have access to weapons and other goods is committing “high treason.”
It is also notable that the document adamantly rejects the sovereignty of the Palestinian Authority and therefore endorses Hamas as the only legitimate government of the Arab population of the territories conquered by Israel in the bloody Six-Day War for its survival in 1967.
The Istanbul Declaration ends with: “Allah prevails in his purpose, but most people know not” (Koran 12:21). Okay. (Perhaps this could be applied to the people out there right now who want to bend over backwards to show the world that America is such an evil entity; they who think we must reach out and learn to understand what motivates terrorists should take heed. )
At the end of the chilling declaration there is a list of Muslim scholars, proselytizers, and sheikhs from across the globe, heavily weighted by representatives from Yemen. Dr. Daud Abdullah, employed by the Muslim Council of Britain, an organization that has over the years repeatedly boycotted National Holocaust Memorial Day, signs the declaration as “proselytizer.”
Cabinet minister Hazel Blears got wind of the fact that Dr. Abdullah, whose organization engages with the British government on issues of social cohesion, had signed the manifesto. She duly protested. Her office, officially called the Department of Communities and Local Government, made a statement demanding his resignation. In a March 26 article that later became a formal letter to the Guardian newspaper, she accused Dr. Abdullah of inciting violence against British military personnel and against Jews around the world.
Now that Abdullah has sued her for defamation, the numerous and ubiquitous Muslim organizations and spokespeople who have come to dominate the airwaves and columns of British media are lining up at battle stations. ENGAGE director Inayat Bunglawala, who once laughed in my face when I told him I had been threatened with death if I so much as set foot in the Regent’s Park Mosque, has accused Hazel Blears of intimidating the Muslim Council. Abdullah himself has flown into a rage about the government’s suspension of ties with the Muslim Council, saying this undermines the independence of the organization. To his credit, commentator Shiraz Maher has denounced Daud Abdullah. He says that by attending the Istanbul conference and signing the incendiary declaration the Muslim Council official is clearly advocating violence Hamas-style.
Harry’s Place puts it this way: “It shows quite how undone [Daud Abdullah] now is. His open and shameless jihadism and treachery towards the country which has provided him with a home is laid utterly bare. He has no defense to his actions at all.”
My only encounter with Daud Abdullah occurred in December 2005 when I wrote to then-head of the MCB Sir Iqbal Sacranie asking him what he intended to do about the 25,000 enraged jihadists I witnessed chanting epithets at the so-called Peace and Unity Conference in London’s Canary Wharf just five months after the transport bombings. Abdullah responded by dismissing my fears and saying, in so many words, that there was nothing to worry about. (I would print his email here except that a few days later I received an angry email from someone at the Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK and my computer’s inbox suddenly evaporated.)
The Muslim Council of Britain is a charity that is entitled to government funding for mentoring programs and further support from trusts and foundations. It has received funding from the UK Department for International Development. As this article goes to press the British government is revising the structure of its relationship with mosques and is making money available directly to them rather than through the MCB. Interesting, too, that in early May Hazel Blears has taken swine flu off the front pages because she has launched a stinging attack on what she sees as an ineffectual Gordon Brown regime.
But meantime Dr. Abdullah’s legal case against the government stands and he insists he has not advocated violence against any man, woman, or child. If he is successful it means it is open season across the world for Muslim activists to emigrate to new countries of residence and then campaign for violent jihad against the citizens and military of their host nation. Watch this space.