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An open letter to Sadiq Khan regarding Al-Quds Day

Your intervention was effectively a political one in favour of pro-Israel groups.

Your intervention was effectively a political one in favour of pro-Israel groups.

I am heartened to know that you support protest when done within the law.

However, since your response a copy of your letter to the Rt Hon Amber Rudd, Home Secretary has surfaced (a copy is attached). Its contents are a cause for deep concern, particularly in light of the anti-Al-Quds Day hate campaign, hate speech, possible hate offences and indeed the attack on congregants in Finsbury Park and the murder of Makram Ali, that took place as a result.

Your intervention was effectively a political one in favour of pro-Israel groups. You claimed in your letter to be evidencing concern about the Jewish community’s safety, yet your intervention is purely political. Al-Quds Day has never been an event, in its over 30 years of running in London, that has shown any anti-Semitic bias. Indeed, many of its participants – from protestors to speakers and supporting organisations – are Jewish. This is a matter that your office will have been aware of, not least because of the many Jewish constituents who wrote to you to complain about the anti-Al-Quds Day campaign being run by ‘North London Friends of Israel’ and ‘We Believe in Israel’ etc.

You actively advocated for the banning of Hizbullah flags flown by members of the public even though it is perfectly legal. You have failed to take any action or advocate against those counter-protestors who have turned up in previous years, and indeed this year, wearing T-Shirts and insignia of groups such as Kahane Chai which is prescribed in Israel, and JDL which the FBI referred to as a “violent extremist Jewish organization” and has been described as an “active terrorist organization”.

This is not only conduct unbecoming on your part, but brings into question your impartiality and your commitment to basic civil liberties and the law. Worse still, your interventions in this attack on a long-running peaceful, multi-faith, multicultural protest for peace and justice, has contributed to its significant demonisation resulting this year in an unprecedented level of hatred and abuse, possible offences and of course the possible incitement of Darren Osborne.

To elucidate this point, those whose voice you championed, turned up on the day to abuse our attendees, galvanised by the support your office provided them. Some of the abuse they subjected members of our rally to can be found in this video:

This abuse included:

  • You’re all terrorists. Get out of our country. This is England.
  • You’re all terrorists.
  • You support terrorists in the UK. Disgraceful. Shame on you.
  • You’ve raped them all.
  • You teach 4-year-olds how to murder Jews on Palestinian TV.
  • Are you supporting ISIS as well today?
  • Child killers, Child killers, Child killers, Child killers. Stop killing people wherever you go.
  • You kill Jews, you kill Christians, you kill everyone in your path.
  • You’re a disgrace to the human race.
  • You don’t belong on the human planet. Get off.
  • Remember the dead in Manchester and London
 and Israel by your hands.
  • Muslim terrorist, Muslim terrorist, Muslim terrorist, Muslim terrorist, Muslim terrorist.
  • You’re killers
 You’ll kill anyone that’s not Muslim.
  • Remember Manchester, remember London
 Killed by your lot.
  • You teach children how to stab Jews on public TV. Disgraceful.

We also saw members of the EDL turn up to scream at the crowd, ‘F** the Palestinians’ and ‘G back to where you f****** came from’. Others referred to Muslims being rapists and paedophiles.

Since you championed their cause so passionately, we would like to know if you also accept their right to abuse law-abiding Muslims by calling them terrorists, child killers, being accused of murder and rape because of their faith and being told to get out of England? This type of racist abuse cannot be tolerated anywhere, let alone on the streets of London by those whose campaign of hate you have so wholeheartedly endorsed and promoted.

Your constituents of various faiths, including those who are Muslim, and those of differing political affiliations than your own are entitled to go about their lawful business without being subjected to abuse, and indeed you as their Mayor must ensure that their equality before the law and in their treatment by institutions, as well as their civil liberties are understood and protected. To date, we have seen very little from your office to protect their rights or freedoms.

We believe that there has been a serious breach of trust in your conduct and potential violations of the code of conduct that governs your office. We hope you will consider publicly amending your stance regarding Al-Quds Day, in particular distancing yourself from the racist and politically motivated campaign against it, apologise for your advocacy on its behalf and do all in your power to reverse the demonisation that has resulted from it.

In the meantime, we reserve our right to take a complaint about your behaviour forward.

Yours sincerely,

Massoud Shadjareh

This post was originally featured here.