British Muslim organisations have broadly praised Baroness Warsi for resigning from the government yesterday in protest at the UK’s failure to pressure Israel to stop is bombardment of Gaza.
A minority of voices have questioned the sincerity of the resignation and Warsi’s previous support for controversial government policies, but these voices have largely been overshadowed by the chorus of praise.
5Pillarz reproduces some statements from major Muslim organisations below:
Muslim Council of Britain
Dr Shuja Shafi, Sectetary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, praised Baroness Warsi over her decision and paid tribute to her role as a Minister.
“Baroness Warsi made a difficult decision in resigning from the Government. But her decision reflects the common humanity that exists in her own party and across the political spectrum, all horrified by the brutality of the Israeli war machine against the people of Gaza.
“Our government can no longer remain oblivious to the concerns of the British public. It must speak out more firmly against the government in Tel Aviv and pressurise them to stop their bloody campaign and end the siege on Gaza.”
Praising Baroness Warsi’s work as a minister, Dr Shafi said: “Baroness Warsi has worked extremely hard as a Minister, not in only representing our country so well in Muslim countries and at international forums, but also in bringing faith communities together here in the UK. She has also worked hard for British Muslims, from highlighting the contribution of Muslims in the First World War to supporting Islamic Finance.
“Being the first Muslim to be a chair of the Conservative Party and a member of Cabinet, Sayeeda Warsi has certainly been a role model to Muslims around the country. May she continue to be so.”
Islamic Human Rights Commission
The IHRC said: “Nearly 2000 Palestinians, the vast majority of them civilians, have been killed and around 10,000 wounded in Israel’s month-long invasion of Gaza designed to weaken and dislodge the territory’s democratically elected Hamas-dominated government.
“In the offensive Israel has bombed UN shelters housing refugees from the conflict on several occasions, targeted children, and blown up mosques and schools, attracting massive public condemnation worldwide. However, western governments including Britain have been more reluctant to condemn Israel and it is this which appears to underlie Baroness Warsi’s decision.
“While the impact of a single cabinet resignation will be mainly symbolic it will nevertheless increase the pressure on the government to change tack on its Palestine policy. At the weekend the Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond admitted that he had received thousands of angry emails from people expressing their horror at Israeli actions.
“IHRC agrees with Baroness Warsi in believing that current British policy ‘is not in Britain’s national interest and will have a long term detrimental impact on our reputation internationally and domestically’.”
IHRC chair Massoud Shadjareh added: “We applaud this unchracteristically courageous move from Baroness Warsi. I’m sure there are others in the cabinet who are watching the horrific images coming out of Gaza and feeling the same pangs from their consciences.
“We would call on them to translate those emotions into policies that will stop repeated Israeli aggression and pressure its leadership into restoring to the Palestinian people their lands and inalienable rights.”
Friends of Al Aqsa
“Friends of al-Aqsa welcomes the courageous decision taken by Foreign Office minister Baroness Warsi to resign her position in objection to the government’s inaction following Israel’s attack on Gaza. This no doubt has been a very trying time for her and we hope her moral stand will compel the British government to become an honest broker in the conflict and help bring about a permanent end to the blockade of Gaza and an end to the occupation.”
Ismail Patel, Chair of FOA said “we welcome and applaud Baroness Warsi’s moral decision and encourage other Conservative MPs and Ministers to publicly air their views against Israeli atrocities.”
CAGE said “Many in the Muslim community have considered Warsi a token, someone there to tick the Muslim box and patronise the community about ‘extremism’ when needed. Many of her own views have also raised eyebrows among members of the community.
“Nevertheless, her resignation should send out a strong message: this country’s foreign policy positions have become so obviously hypocritical that even politicians at the heart of government cannot stand by any longer.
“Baroness Warsi also makes some important points in her resignation letter to David Cameron that CAGE has been making for many years:
1. Britain’s foreign policy is the driver of radicalisation
‘However, early evidence from the Home Office and others shows that the fallout of the current conflict and the potential for the crisis in Gaza and our response to it becoming a basis for radicalisation could have consequences for us for years to come.’
2. Britain’s position on Gaza is not consistent with British values or the rule of law.
‘I believe our approach in relation to the current conflict is neither consistent with our values, specifically our commitment to the rule of law and our long history of support for International Justice’
In an interview with Channel 4 News, she had this to say:
“There is no doubt there is the potential for radicalisation for young people,” she said. “I fundamentally believe the way in which we conduct ourselves domestically does impact on our reputation internationally, and the way we behave internationally does have blow-back domestically … It’s not a claim I make there is evidence there in black and white in the work that the Home Office is doing. These reports and this evidence makes for uncomfortable reading but we can either bury our head in the sand and pretend it’s not there.”