Dear Gordon BrownAs friends of the UK government and firm allies in the government's efforts to tackle extremism at home and abroad, we write to express our acute concern about the possible repercussions of the serious on-going conflict in Gaza.Open letter: Leading Muslim counter-extremism advisers urge Gordon Brown to hold Israel accountable for its attacks on Gaza | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk
We wholeheartedly support your calls for an immediate and permanent ceasefire that must include the immediate cessation of Israeli aerial andground assaults, an end to all rocket attacks into Israel and a total lift of the siege of Gaza. For that to be a viable objective, we believe the UK, the US and our European allies must demonstrate uncompromising leadership in reinstating a workable peace process in the Middle East.
As you are aware, the anger within UK Muslim communities has reached acute levels of intensity. The Israeli government's use of disproportionate force to combat threats to its security has revived extremist groups and empowered their message of violence and perennial conflict. For Muslims in the UK and abroad, we run the risk of potentially creating a loss of faith in the political process.
We agree with your statement on the BBC's Andrew Marr programme (4 January 2009) that we are witnessing a time of great danger. We must do our utmost to prevent permanent damage to relations with Muslim-majority countries, and to work together to ensure such an escalation of violence does not happen again.
A strong transatlantic relationship has been of immense strategic value to the United Kingdom, but we now believe it is imperative that we make our differences and views clear. We urge you to make concerted and successful efforts to convince the US administration of the dangers of its current approach and to ensure that the incoming Obama administration forges a more enlightened direction. The current partisan and simplified narrative emanating from the White House is of serious and direct harm to relations between the UK, North America and Arab countries. It is also potentially undermining our national interests.
We also believe that the UK – bilaterally and as part of the EU – has an important role to demonstrate to Israel that the threshold of acceptable behaviour has been perilously transgressed. We believe the time has come to suspend the EU-Israel upgrade process until the present conflict has been brought to an end. The UK should make clear to Israel, publicly and privately, that genuine and lasting improvements in the occupied territories are a prerequisite for continued political support.
In view of the urgency of the situation, we would like to relay our concerns to you in person at your earliest convenience. It would provide us with an opportunity to subsequently inform our national and global networks of the UK government's efforts to hold Israel accountable to its obligations under the peace process and to ensure that effective negotiation triumphs over violence on all sides.
Dr Tahir Abbas
Parvin Ali OBE
Dr Usama Hasan
Aftab Ahmad Malik
Dr Zahoor Qureshi
Zareena Roohi Ahmed
Thursday, January 08, 2009
Open letter: Leading Muslim counter-extremism advisers urge Gordon Brown to hold Israel accountable for its attacks on Gaza | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk
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