British Muslim leader signs Istanbul declaration


LONDON (JTA) — A leading British Muslim reportedly has joined a call to attack those who prevent smuggling arms to Hamas in Gaza.

A report published in London claims that Dr. Daud Abdullah is one of about 90 Muslim leaders from around the world who signed a declaration in support of Hamas and military action against those who act to stop arms smuggling to Gaza.

Abdullah is deputy director-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, an umbrella organization representing about 400 mosques and organizations, and was one of the leaders of the organizations’ boycott of the Holocaust Memorial Day.

According to the London weekly Observer, the declaration signed in Istanbul last month describes Israel’s recent military operation in Gaza as "the manifest victory which Allah has granted us in the land of Gaza." It also opposes the Palestinian Authority and lists a series of “obligations” to the “Islamic Nation” calling on it to "carry on with the jihad and resistance against the occupier until the liberation of all Palestine."

One of those “obligations” is that Muslims must work to achieve the opening of border crossings, allowing "money, clothing, food, medicine, weapons and other essentials" to reach Gaza, so Palestinians "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,” the declaration warns.

Abdullah had briefed British officials on the situation in Gaza and its likely impact on social cohesion in Britain during the Israeli operation.

Some have called for the British government and the Muslim Council of Britain to condemn Abdullah.

Ed Husain, co-director of the Quilliam Foundation, a counter-extremism think tank that in January organized a letter to all mosques to act against anti-Semitism, said  that if the Muslim Council of Britain “is serious about tackling extremism, it should immediately expel extremists such as Daud Abdullah from its own ranks," adding that “the man is a fanatic.”

A spokeswoman for the Department of Communities and Local Government said that if it is proven that a senior member of the Muslim Council signed the statement, "we would expect [the council] to ask him to resign and to confirm its opposition to acts of violent extremism."

Recommended from JTA