• Wednesday, April 17, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Labour MP slams Muslim group for not condemning Hamas

Khalid Mahmood says Britain needs ‘a new, better form of non-sectarian politics’

Khalid Mahmood MP

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

LABOUR MP Khalid Mahmood has criticised a top Mulsim group of the UK for not condemning Hamas which committed atrocities in Israel earlier this month.

Hamas gunmen sneaked across the border into southern Israel from the Gaza Strip on October 7, killing about 1,400 people and abducting dozens. In its response to the violence, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) called for “an immediate end to the violence and adherence to international law” in Gaza but did not mention Hamas whose actions triggered a fresh wave of bloodshed in the volatile region.

Mahmood, the MP for Birmingham Perry Barr since 2001, said the statement on the “biggest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust” fell “woefully short”.

In a piece he wrote for the Times, the longest-serving Muslim MP in the UK said: “The group published a shamefully inadequate statement calling for ‘an end to the violence in and around Gaza’, which failed to mention Hamas by name.”

“The MCB does not represent me, nor most British Muslims. Not in my name, I say,” the Kashmir-born Labour veteran said.

He recalled how an MCB official signed up to the Istanbul Declaration, which threatened attacks on Royal Navy personnel enforcing a UN weapons blockade on Gaza.

“To judge from the MCB’s latest statements, it still has a very long way to go before a future Labour government should have anything to do with it,” he said.

Mahmood hailed Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer for “decisively” breaking with much of his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn’s approach but said the former director of public prosecutions “needs to be bolder still.”

“Labour has foolishly embraced the hugely expansive definition of Islamophobia issued by the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on British Muslims – effectively an Islamist charter for cutting off criticism of Islamism.”

He had rejected the parliamentary group’s concept of Islamophobia which would “make criticism of Islamists who endorse Hamas’s approach all the harder at this time.”

Britain needed “a new, better form of non-sectarian politics, one that embodies the spirit of the Abraham Accords,” he said referring to bilateral agreements on Arab–Israeli normalisation signed in 2020.

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