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British Muslims demand explanation from Labour leader

JERICHO, WEST BANK - SEPTEMBER 09: Medjools are seen as the medjool harvest season starts in Jericho, West Bank on September 09, 2020. ( Issam Rimawi - Anadolu Agency )
Medjools are seen as the medjool harvest season starts in Jericho, West Bank on September 09, 2020 [Issam Rimawi - Anadolu Agency]

Britain's Friends of Al Aqsa and a number of Muslim organisations have issued a petition demanding an explanation from the Labour Party leader, Keir Starmer, for pulling out a public iftar (breaking fast) with Muslims during Ramadan.

The petition accuses the Labour leader of double standards after he bowed to pressure from The Jewish Chronicle which shared a tweet by an organiser of the iftar calling for a boycott dates from Israel.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 10: British Labour Party leader Keir Starmer leaves the BBC headquarters in London, United Kingdom on January 10 2021. ( Tayfun Salci - Anadolu Agency )

British Labour Party leader Keir Starmer leaves the BBC headquarters in London, United Kingdom on January 10 2021 [Tayfun Salci – Anadolu Agency]

"The fast in Ramadan is traditionally first broken with dates, which has ritual significance for Muslims. It is important that these dates are ethically sourced," the petition stated. Since Israel's settlements are designated illegal under international law, the boycott of their goods is widely recognised as a legitimate form of activism.

A recent YouGov poll showed that 61 per cent of Labour members support the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement against Israel, while only 8 per cent were in opposition.

READ: UK Labour leader pulls out of Ramadan iftar after pro-Israel lobbing

Founder and CEO of the Cordoba Foundation, Dr Anas Altikriti, deplored the Labour leader's action saying "rather than uphold international law and support the stand of two thirds of his own party members," Starmer chose to pull out of the Iftar event.

On their part, signatories to the petition further accuse Starmer of undermining Muslims and anyone else who is seeking justice and redress for the Palestinian people.

They note that by "demonising BDS," the Labour Party leader "is sending a clear signal of his unconditional support for Israel."

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