1. Imams and faith leaders call for ceasefire against escalating violence in Gaza

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Imams and faith leader call for ceasefire against escalating violence in Gaza

UK Imams and Faith Leaders support the United Nations Secretary General’s call and the call of our foreign secretary, The Rt Hon William Hague MP, for a cessation of violence in Gaza and Israel. Since the beginning of the recent cycle of violence, over 150 Palestinians have been killed due to Israeli air-strikes on Gaza. The majority of those killed are civilians; children, women and the elderly.

We are extremely troubled at the continuation and escalation of violence that has followed the murder of three Israeli teenagers and the retaliatory murder of the Palestinian youngster in East Jerusalem. Perpetrators of those killings have still not been identified. We sincerely hope that the political conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis does not continue the on going collective punishment of Palestinian civilians and the disproportionate level of force used by Israel.

We strongly condemn violence and the killing of innocent people on both sides. With our heartfelt sympathies, we offer our condolences to all those families who have lost their loved ones since the escalation of the current wave of violence.

We urge strong diplomatic intervention by our government, UNO, United States and regional partners to help secure an immediate ceasefire so that no further lives are lost due to this on-going conflict.

A ceasefire must be followed by concerted diplomatic outreach efforts to make progress towards permanent peace. Existing UN resolutions already considers a two-state solution and this could be the basis for a viable resolution towards lasting peace. There is no alternative that can deliver peace, security and stability for both Israelis and Palestinians. Until an agreement can be reached, we urge both sides not to give in to retaliation and reprisals. Hatred breed’s hatred and the spirit of freedom cannot simply be extinguished by violence but only resolved through political dialogue.

As the scale of the humanitarian crisis escalates, we appeal to our communities to use every democratic means to express our concerns and play our part in a peaceful solution. It is essential in the month of Ramadan we maintain the highest moral conduct and continue to raise funds and provide humanitarian aid to Palestinians through safer giving.

We also urge the Muslim community not to let the political and humanitarian crisis in the Middle East affect the very important levels of cooperation and understanding which has been developed between communities in Britain.

We pray for peace to prevail and for pain and suffering to be ended.

Following Imams and leaders have drafted and support this statement

Sheikh Ahmed Babikir, Islamic Advisor Islamiyyah School Network, London
Qari Mohammed Asim MBE, Senior Imam Makkah Masjid, Leeds
Sheikh Muhammad Manwar Ali, JIMAS, Norwich
Mualana Shahid Raza OBE, Leicester Central Mosque, Leicester
Imam Rafiq Sufi Patel, Vice Chairman Lancashire of Mosque, Blackburn
Mufti Zymer Salihi, Chairman Albanian and Turkish Islamic Foundation, London
Prof Masood Akhtar Hazarvi, Al Hira Education Centre, Luton
Dr Musharraf Hussain, Director Karima Foundation, Nottingham
Sheikh Mohamed el Sharkawy, Al Azhar Academy, London
Sheikh Tahir Fayyaz, Abu Bakr Masjid, Southall London
Sheikh Sabazada Jeelani, Wycombe Islamic Mission/ South East Imams Forum, High Wycombe
Chairman Abdul Hameed Qurashi, Lancashire Council of Mosque, Preston
Moulana Ghulam Rasool, Trustee Sultan Bahu Trust, Tipton, Birmingham
Sheikh Sayed Ali Abbas Rizvi, Majlis Ulama-e-Shia, London
Sheikh Mustafa Jaffar, Masjid, London

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