Monthly Archives: September 2009

  The report produced by the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, headed by Justice Richard Goldstone (pictured), and presented to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva yesterday, has invited a flurry of denunciations from pro-Israel lobby groups determined to present the report’s findings as ‘biased’ as this alert from The Israel Project shows.

The Israeli Ambassador to the UK, Ron Prosor, in a guest column in yesterday’s Times argued that the Goldstone report:

‘…wilfully ignores the context of Operation Cast Lead….Israel did its utmost to direct Palestinian civilians out of harm’s way. But the report overlooks the Israeli Army’s warning leaflets, text messages and daily humanitarian pauses in the fighting.’

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  The ENGAGE submission to the Communities and Local Government select committee’s Inquiry into Prevent can be read here.

Written submissions were invited by the committee to assess the effectiveness of the Prevent programme to date.

You can follow Inquiry’s progress on the CLG committee website. 

  ENGAGE have written a short letter to the Jewish Chronicle concerning a story printed in last week’s edition of the paper about the controversial submission by the Board of Deputies of British Jews to the Prevent inquiry and its conditions for Government engaging with the Muslim Council of Britain.

Read the letter here.


  The Prime Minister, Gordon Brown’s keynote speech at the Labour party conference today can be read here.

Email the PM with your questions or comments on the speech via the Number 10 website.

And you can also raise issues that matter to you with the PM on Number 10’s Youtube initiative ‘Ask the PM’. Just send in your question via video message and watch for the PM’s videoed response.

  The Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC) will be holding a public meeting tomorrow (30th Sept) in Camden, north London, to ‘Stop MI5 Blackmail!’

MI5’s blackmailing of British Muslim citizens came to light in an exclusive published in The Independent in May. The paper disclosed that five Muslim community workers of the Kentish Town Community Organisation (KTCO) had allegedly been harassed by the security services trying to blackmail them into working as informants.

Mohamed Nur, one of those speaking at tomorrow’s meeting, told the Independent:

The MI5 agent said, ‘Mohamed if you do not work for us we will tell any foreign country you try to travel to that you are a suspected terrorist.'”

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  The planned attendance of Ehud Barak, Israeli Defence Minister and deputy Prime Minister, at a Labour Friends of Israel fringe meeting on Tuesday has attracted criticism from Labour MPs.

Barak, as Defence Minister, oversaw Israel’s savagery in Gaza in Dec 2008-Jan 2009 which killed over 1400 Palestinians, will be appearing on a panel at the fringe meeting, hosted by the Labour Friends of Israel, alongside – to their shame – PM Gordon Brown and Foreign Secretary, David Miliband.

Phyllis Starkey, MP for Milton Keynes South West, commenting on the recent UN report which cites examples of war crimes committed by Israel in Gaza said, “We are betraying everyone who believes in human rights.”

Jeremy Corbyn MP has called on people to protest against Ehud Barak’s attendance at the fringe meeting. Details in this action alert.


Emdad Rahman reviews ‘Eid in the Square’, which took place in London’s Trafalgar Square on Saturday 26th Sept, for Islam Online.

Trafalgar Square was transformed into a performance tent with the landmark Square playing host to storytellers, exhibitions, singers, musicians and theatre.

Read the review here.

  The meeting last week of Muslims in High Wycombe with UK Ambassador to Iraq, Sir Christopher Prentice, has attracted criticism from the local MP, Paul Goodman (pictured), and local press for its being held in private.

A local newspaper, Bucks Free Press, had requested permission to cover the meeting, permission that was granted and then retracted with Council chiefs explaining that guidelines from the FCO stipulated that the meeting was closed to the press. A spokesperson from the FCO said:

As part of the FCO’s programme of outreach to Muslim communities Sir Christopher Prentice, Ambassador to Baghdad, attended an event in High Wycombe on 24 September.

“The visit provided an opportunity to reach out to young British Muslims to explain our work and dispel misconceptions about UK foreign policy, as well as providing opportunities to discuss foreign policy issues away from extremist forums.

“It was not open to press in order to create a ‘safe space’ for open and frank discussions.

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  The Sunday Herald yesterday reported that Strathclyde police will oppose a planned demonstration in November by the Scottish Defence League (the Scottish arm of the English Defence League) if the event is intended to stir up racial hatred.

The paper reports that ‘Strathclyde Police are ready to oppose any application for a rally that stirs up racial tensions.’

Anti-fascist groups believe the SDL is looking to hold a demonstration ‘near a mosque in Glasgow, or at a venue that is being lined up as a Muslim place of worship in Kilmarnock.’

Osama Saeed, chief executive of the Scottish Islamic Foundation, said: “We congratulate Glasgow City Council and Strathclyde Police for the stance that they’ve taken on the SDL.”

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  There’s a further article in the Jewish Chronicle this week which is disconcerting.

The paper reports that the Board of Deputies of British Jews (BoD) has, in its joint submission with the Community Security Trust to the Communities and Local Government Inquiry into ‘Prevent’, said that:

Any future engagement with umbrella groups such as the Muslim Council of Britain must be contingent on them representing a greater range of views than those of the Islamists, and firmly rejecting violence in all circumstances, including in overseas conflicts.

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