British Muslim groups sign statement condemning alleged Houthi attack on Makkah

Yemen's Houthis are thought to get limited help from Iran

Over a dozen British Muslim organisations have signed a statement condemning an alleged ballistic missile attack by the Houthi movement in Yemen on the holy city of Makkah.

Saudi Arabia accused the Houthis – and their allies Iran – of being behind the attack last week, but both have denied that it ever took place. They say the target of the missile was Jeddah Airport which has been used to launch bombing raids on Yemen as part of the conflict currently taking place there.

The Houthis have been locked in fierce battle against Saudi-led forces since March 2015, when the Saudis launched an offensive trying to restore the internationally-recognised but domestically-opposed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

For more information on the controversy read here.

houthi-statementThe statement condemning the “attack” was signed by London Central Mosque, Mayfair Mosque, Muslim Welfare House, Al Muntada Al Islami, Al Manaar Cultural Heritage Centre, Jamiat e Ulama Britain, Markizi Jamiat Ahl-e Hadith, Islamic Sharia Council, London Muslim Forum, Masjid Al Tawhid, Muslim World League, Brixton Mosque, Islamic Cultural Centre in Edinburgh, and Croydon Islamic Community Trust.

At least some of these organisations are thought to be directly linked to Saudi Arabia.

The statement says that:

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“Mecca and the House of Allah SWT are from the most beloved and sacred places in the hearts of all Muslims worldwide. It is the place to which all hearts of Muslims are attached, the place of safety and security, the land in which the divine revelation of Allah was revealed. It is best and most beloved land to Allah SWT and his Messenger as per his statement peace be upon him: ‘You are the greatest land in the sight of Allah; and the
most beloved to me.’

“With profound regret and bottomless pain, the Muslim community in Britain has received the news of the launching of a ballistic missile by the Houthi group toward Mecca. This horrific action and blatant assault cannot be described except as madness and foolishness, which undoubtedly provokes the feelings of Muslims as a whole worldwide. No group were to collectively violate the sanctity of this land, which Allah made a city of peace and security except that Allah SWT would afflict them with a painful torment, and result in their conspiring entwined in the depths of misguidance and error.

“We ask Allah SWT the Almighty to preserve the country of the Two Holy Mosques, and to preserve the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from any harm and grant it peace, safety and security and likewise all lands of Islam and Muslims.”

“Shocking statement”

However, it has since emerged that at least two of the organisations on the statement (Muslim Association of Britain and East London Mosque) were never consulted about it and have asked for their names to be removed.

The Muslim Association of Britain said it “condemns the killing of civilians and innocent people in Yemen and other countries like Syria and Iraq” and (without mentioning the Houthis) it also condemns “any attempts to attack religious sites, especially Makkah.”

And East London Mosque said the statement was not approved by the appropriately authorised persons from East London Mosque Trust and that they have written to the statement organisers clarifying their position and have asked them to remove their name from the statement.  East London Mosque added; “Any proven attacks against Islam’s most revered sites are of course condemned by all.”

Meanwhile, Massoud Shadjareh, of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, said the accusation that the Houthis attacked Makkah was a “pure lie” and should be ignored, and he described the statement by the British Muslim organisations as “pointless” and “shocking.”

“Who would believe such a thing?” he said. “These institutions have been totally silent on the issue of Yemen when the whole of the international community have already clearly identified Saudi Arabia as committing war crimes, and of systematically targeting innocent children. Anyone in their right mind would realise that there are all plenty of military targets in Saudi Arabia to hit so what kind of stupid person would even claim that the Houthis would target something that is so holy to every Muslim?”

He added: “The institutions which have signed this statement have given into the propaganda machine of Saudi war criminals. I have respect for these institutions but it’s extremely worrying that they’re becoming victims of this sort of propaganda and bullying from the Saudis. It’s not worth it, no matter what the financial benefit to them might be.”

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