Under Starmer’s leadership, the Labour party will take a decidedly different direction as compared to Jeremy Corbyn. In this light, it is a great success that Starmer is taking Muslim collective action seriously.
Over 100 British mosques and Islamic centres co-signed a letter to the Labour leader threatening to boycott the party over Keir Starmer’s seemingly cosying up with the extremist position of Modi and the ruling BJP on Kashmir. Starmer responded in a letter to the MCB, stating that he reiterates the Labour party’s position that Kashmir has a right to self-determination.
Starmer has also separately responded to the letter from co-signed by over 100 mosques and Islamic Centres on the 12th May. This is a clear sign that the potency of Muslim collective action has been noted by the upper echelons of the Labour party. Encouragingly, Starmer’s response has a conciliatory tone, and is intended to construct a positive relationship with British Muslim communities.
Under Starmer’s leadership, the Labour party will take a decidedly different direction as compared to Jeremy Corbyn. In this light, it is a great success that Starmer is taking Muslim collective action seriously. The work of the 100+ mosques and Islamic centres, as well as the MCB should be applauded. Muslims should continue to work hard to hold politicians to account, and to build constructive relationships across political parties.
Below is the full text of Starmer’s response:
Dear FORMO Panel,
I hope you are well. Thank you for your letter emailed on the 6th May and please thank all your signatories for reaching out to me in this way. It is vital that the Labour Party and Muslim communities across the UK have a strong and constructive relationship, and I look forward to working together in the future.
Let me use this opportunity to address some of the points raised in your letter and reiterate that under my leadership the Labour Party will always uphold and respect international law and will always stand up for human rights and for the rule of law.
Our position on Kashmir has not changed, we support and recognise previous UN resolutions on the rights of the Kashmiri people but maintain that if we are to find a lasting settlement, to end this ongoing conflict, that can only be achieved if India and Pakistan working together, with the people of Kashmir.
My approach to international relations will be to always promote peace and put human rights first. I look forward to building a relationship with you to help me make that case and work within our communities to promote unity over division and stand up for what is right. We must not allow issues in the region to divide communities here. In everything we do, we should always seek to ease tensions and not increase them.
I will also ensure that Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Lisa Nandy, is aware of this correspondence and ensures the voices of our Kashmiri communities contribute to Labour’s policy-making processes.
In terms of your points about elections, I want to reassure you I do not take any votes for granted but for me, this is not an electoral issue, it is a moral one.
Thank you once again for contacting me and raising the concerns of your communities, we will continue to work hard to reaffirm our commitment to stand up for the rights of the Kashmiri people in the most constructive and effective manner.
Keir Starmer MP