Muslim leaders warn Britain’s Brown


LONDON (JTA) — Muslim leaders in Britain warned Gordon Brown of the dangerous effect of American policy in the Middle East.

The 13 Muslim leaders, who act as anti-extremism advisers to the British government, wrote in an open letter that the prime minister must use his influence on the U.S. administration and incoming president Barack Obama.

“We urge you to make concerted and successful efforts to convince the U.S. administration of the dangers of its current approach and to ensure that the incoming Obama administration forges a more enlightened direction," the British Muslim leaders warned in the letter. "The current partisan and simplified narrative emanating from the White House is of serious and direct harm to relations between the U.K., North America and Arab countries. It is also potentially undermining our national interests.”

“The anger within U.K. Muslim communities has reached acute levels of intensity. The Israeli government’s use of disproportionate force to combat threats to its security has revived extremist groups and empowered their message of violence and perennial conflict. For Muslims in the U.K. and abroad, we run the risk of potentially creating a loss of faith in the political process,” they added.

In the letter, the leaders also demand that the British government take decisive action against Israel at the European Union.

“We believe the time has come to suspend the E.U.-Israel upgrade process until the present conflict has been brought to an end," they wrote. "The U.K. should make clear to Israel, publicly and privately, that genuine and lasting improvements in the occupied territories are a prerequisite for continued political support.”

The Muslim leaders concluded by asking for a meeting with the prime minister, making clear what they expect would be the result of this meeting.

“It would provide us with an opportunity to subsequently inform our national and global networks of the U.K. government’s efforts to hold Israel accountable to its obligations under the peace process," the letter said, "and to ensure that effective negotiation triumphs over violence on all sides.”

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