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Muslim Council in UK rejects MP's call to resign

Muslim Council of Britain says govt's "meddling" unproductive

Britain’s largest Muslim organization rejected Sunday calls for its head to resign for backing Hamas and called the government's latest attempts to interfere in the organization's structure "high-handed" and "condescending."

The Muslim Council of Britain criticized the government's call for its deputy, Dr. Dawud Abdullah, to step down after he signed the Gaza Declaration in Istanbul, which the U.K. government claims was an act of supporting violence and extremism.

In a letter to the council, Hazel Blears, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government expressed concern that Abdulla was one of 90 Muslim leaders worldwide who signed the declaration, whichpledged support for Hamas, the democratically-elected government in the Strip.

Blears warned that the government would reconsider its relationship with the organization if the deputy does not resign.

"We cannot make Mr. Abdullah resign but we may reconsider our relationship with Muslim Council of Britain if it does not look into this matter," a spokesman from Blear's office told AlArabiya.net.

"We are concerned that the statement calls for direct support for acts of violence in the Middle East and beyond. We are also aware that a senior member of the MCB may have been a signatory to this statement. If it is proven that the individual concerned had been a signatory, we would expect the MCB to ask him to resign and to confirm its opposition to acts of violent extremism," a spokesperson said in a previous statement.

But the council, which is an independent non-government body, rejected Blear's "high-handed and condescending action" in a press release Sunday and affirmed its commitment to opposing violence, and specifically the "targeting or killing of British soldiers anywhere in the world."

We cannot make Mr. Abdullah resign but we may reconsider our relationship with Muslim Council of Britain if it does not look into this matter

Spokesperson for Hazel Blears

"What the British government is trying to do is unprecedented," Dawud Abdullah told AlArabiya.net. "It has no right to interfere into the affairs of a national body and dictate who should hold office in organization. We have not found evidence where such government meddling took place in the affairs of non-government bodies in the U.K. whether religious or civil," he added.

Abdullah is one of the three officers elected by the British Muslim community. As deputy of MCB he reflects the views of all its affiliates, one of which affirms "the right under international law of the Palestinian people to resist the ongoing illegal and brutal occupation of their land.

The committee backs Dr. Dawud Abdullah and refuses that he steps down

Halbawy, MCB founding member

Committee members of the council affirmed their support of Abdullah at the committee quarterly meeting held late Saturday in Birmingham where they flatly rejected the removal of an elected officer at the behest of
government minister.


"The committee backs Dr. Dawud Abdullah and refuses that he steps down," Kamal Halbawy, founding member and a member of the board of advisors told AlArabiya.net.

The committee backs Dr. Dawud Abdullah and refuses that he steps down

Helbawy, MCB founding member

Govt. supports the occupier

The declaration supporting Gaza which Abdullah signed called for the liberation of Palestinians from the Israeli military occupation and affirmed their right to resist the occupation and referenced Hamas as a democratically elected movement by the people of Gaza.

"These principles are consistent with international law and members of the UN are obliged under the charter to assist people to attain their freedom," said Abdullah, adding that the British government's actions are not in line with international law.

"The problem with the British government is that it is assisting the occupier when it should assist the occupied," said Abdullah.

As to the future of the MCB's relationship with the government, Abdullah said it remains open so long as mutual respect is shown.

"Our doors are open and we work with government on the basis of mutual respect and honesty and recognition that we are independent body we are equal citizens in this partnership."

The problem with the British government is that it is assisting the occupier when it should assist the occupied

Abdullah, Deputy of MCB