A joint statement of 45 British Muslim organisations, scholars and activists have defended the Palestinian right to self-defence and resistance against Israel’s illegal occupation and brutal violence. The statement calls for an end to the occupation in all its forms, the dismantling of the settler colonial state of Israel, the rejection of the term “terrorism” when describing acts of Palestinian resistance, and an end to the criminalisation of acts of solidarity with Palestine by the UK government. Here is the statement in full:

Glory be to the One Who carried His servant by night from the Sacred Mosque to Masjid Al Aqsa whose surroundings We have blessed so that We might show him some of Our signs. Indeed He alone is All-Hearing, All-Seeing. [17:1]

1. We, as leading members of the British Muslim community, reaffirm the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to resist Israeli military occupation, including the right to armed struggle.

2. The right of the Palestinians to engage in armed resistance is enshrined in customary international law and has been affirmed by the United National General Assembly on numerous occasions, in the context of the right to self-determination of all peoples under colonial and racist regimes or other forms of alien domination (such as Resolution 37/43 (1982) and Resolution 3314 (1974)).

3. Israel is a settler colonial state that commits the crime of apartheid against Palestinians living in all territory it has control over. It is engaged in the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous population of the land it controls by the razing of Palestinian villages and towns, displacement of the inhabitants and their replacement by colonial settlers from other parts of the world. Israel has been operating a genocidal economic blockade of the Gaza Strip for over 16 years creating the largest open-air prison in the world. It routinely desecrates Masjid Al Aqsa by launching armed assaults on the mosque and the worshippers seeking to pray there.

4. We reject the use of the word ‘terrorism’ to describe Palestinian acts of resistance. It is never appropriate for a colonising force and those who enable it through political, military and financial support, to dictate to the victims of this colonial domination how they should resist.

5. We also note with great concern that the UK government is intent on effectively criminalising all forms of resistance to Israeli atrocities whether that be violent or non-violent means, such as BDS, protest, direct action and showing any form of solidarity with the Palestinian freedom struggle. This indicates that it is not the means of Palestinian resistance that is problematic for the UK government, but Palestinian resistance and Palestinian existence itself.

6. We firmly believe that in order for peace to prevail in the region:
All Palestinian prisoners must be immediately released.
The apartheid state must be completely dismantled.
Palestinian refugees and their descendants must be permitted to return home if they wish to.
The UK must cease its military, financial and moral support for Israel.

The Undersigned:

Dr Azzam Tamimi (Institute of Islamic Political Thought)
Dr Anas Altikriti (The Cordoba Foundation)
Dr Haitham Al-Haddad
Sheikh Suliman Gani
Moazzam Begg (CAGE)
Lowkey (Musician and Journalist)
Dr Osman Latiff (Sapience Institute)
Massoud Shadjareh (Islamic Human Rights Commission)
Imam Asif Uddin (Imam and Scholar)
Amir Shabir (Federation of Student Islamic Societies – FOSIS)
Azhar Qayum (Muslim Engagement and Development – MEND)
Sheikh Shaqur Rehman (Imam and Scholar)
Imam Omar Hajaj (Yaseen Youth Development)
Ahmed Hammuda (Writer)
Ahammed Hussain (Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK – MPACUK)
Dr Asim Qureshi (CAGE)
Mawlana Mohammed Ahmed (Al-Nujum Institute)
Syed Saqub Ahmed (Darlington Islamic Academy)
Ali Akhtar (Al-Hira Educational Centre)
Abid Akkaparambil (Strive UK)
Imam Jabir Ali
Zen Sharif Ali (Ebrahim College)
Muhammad Badat (Al-Falah Trust)
Shaykha Fatima Barkatulla
Mufti Amir Isap
Abu Hussain (Ikhwa)
Shehab Ismail (Federation of Student Islamic Societies, FOSIS)
Hafez Farook Kazi (The Suffah Institute, Preston)
Imam Asim Khan (Imam and Scholar)
Enam Ahmod (Muslim Youth Network)
Imam Abdullah Kola (Madina Masjid, Newcastle upon Tyne)
Imam Ajmal Masroor
Fatima Miah (Nakheel Women’s Group)
Akif Naqash (Musallah Edinburgh)
Mohammed Nur (Ikhwa)
Maulana Azhar Patel (Bishopbriggs Islamic Community Centre, Glasgow)
Imam Mohammed Hafizur Rahman (Al Khayriyyah Institute)
Imran Sayed
Aliyah Umm Raiyaan (Writer)
DOAM (Documenting Oppression Against Muslims)

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