PRESS RELEASE – UK: Open letter urges Mayor of London to re-think hostile stance on Al-Quds Day rally

From: Islamic Human Rights Commission

17 May 2018

PRESS RELEASE – UK: Open letter urges Mayor of London to re-think hostile stance on Al-Quds Day rally

IHRC is among a host of pro-Palestinian groups and activists that have written to the Mayor of London demanding that his office supports the right to free expression and to protection from racist violence of people taking part in this years Al-Quds rally on 10 June in the capital.

The letter follows an exchange of correspondence between Sadiq Khan and the IHRC since last summer around his kowtowing to Zionist and far right extremists who are campaigning to have the annual event banned or failing that its freedom of expression curtailed.

Pro-Israel advocates have been applying pressure on Khan to ban the event which highlights the continuing oppression of the Palestinians on the grounds that many of the participants carry Hezbollah flags as an expression of support for the pro-Palestinian group.

Last year the demonisation campaign was responsible for inciting Darren Osborne to drive a van into worshippers leaving late night Ramadan prayers in the Finsbury Park area of north London on 19 June 2017. Osborne’s intended target had been the Al-Quds day protest that took place the day before, but he was unable to reach it.

Today’s open letter reminds the Mayor Khan that the march has been run as a peaceful event in the capital for over 30 years attracting a diverse range of people. The police have praised the peaceful nature of this event and have had to increase their presence only in response to violent threats against it.

This year similar demonisation and incitement are taking place. Already the same individuals have been involved in the criminal damage (which is being investigated as a hate crime) of a poster advertising the event and have made veiled threats of taking further action during the event itself.

In the run-up to Al-Quds Day last year and again this year, the Mayor has actively supported demands to ban the march.

The letter asks Mr. Khan to show his “support for the lawful, peaceful and inclusive activism of Al-Quds Day by publicly, committing to its security and safety, eschewing all hate campaigns targeting it, pursuing to the full extent of the law, those who seek to incite violence against it, supporting the right to protest, free expression and the right to be protected from racist hatred and violence.”

Notes to editors:

The letter is signed by the following:

Les Levidow – Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (J-BIG)
Saleh Mamon – Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC)
Sofiah MacLeod – Chair, Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC)
Massoud Shadjareh – Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC)
John Tymon – Football Against Apartheid
Abbas Ali – Innovative minds
Sayyid Samir Al-Haidari – Ahlulbayt Islamic Mission
Azzam Mohamad – Ahl-al-Bait Society
(Rabbi) Ahron Cohen – Neturei Karta, Orthodox Jewish opposition to Zionism
Baroness Jenny Tonge – Independent Peer, Member of the House of Lords
Nadia Yaqub – Member of Camden Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Ruth Tenne – Camden Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Prof. Ilan Pappé
Michael Kalmanovitz – International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network UK
Averil Parkinson (Chair)
Cambridge Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Zareen Taj – Cambridge Stop The War Coalition
Prof. Haim Bresheeth – Professorial Research Associate, Faculty of Arts and Humanities
School of Oriental and African Studies and Director of Camera Obscura Films.
Tony Greenstein – Brighton & Hove UNISON local government and B&H Trades Union Council
Aberystwyth – Friends of Palestine
Mike Cushman – Free speech on Israel.
Khaled Khalil – Secretary & Spokesperson, Association of Palestinian Communities in Scotland
Mick Nepier – SPSC
Richard Haley – Chair, Scotland Against Criminalising Communities
Dr Issam Hijjawi – Association of Palestine
Balfour Declaration centenary campaign
Mir Ali Jabber- Palestine Democratic Forum
Abou Jaffar- Scottish Forum for Middle East and North Africa.

IHRC’s open letter can be read in full online here[Ends]

For media enquiries please email media@ihrc.org or call 020 8904 4222 or 07958 522196

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IHRC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

Islamic Human Rights Commission
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HA9 7XH
United Kingdom

Telephone (+44) 20 8904 4222
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