Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,
It has now been two weeks since the world witnessed the onslaught of the Israeli killing machine and the latest tragedy now unfolding for the people of Gaza. Each week as we update you the numbers of those who have been killed have grown by massive proportions. To date, some 700 are now dead. Innalillahi wa inna ilaihi rajioon, to Him we belong, and to Him we shall return. Each day we discover the depth of human suffering faced by Gazans and yesterday the injustice was recognised by the International Red Cross who accused Israel of violating international law.
I am writing today to remind you again what is being done here in the UK and how you can help. The depth of popular feeling for the Palestinians spans all faiths and all communities. We hope you use the Jumuah prayers today as an opportunity to remind people of this, inform them of tomorrow's major peaceful protest for the Palestinians in London and to pray for our brother and sisters. I include information about the demonstration and what initiatives you and your community can take to help the people of Palestine.
In the meantime the Muslim Council of Britain has continued to work with affiliates and other bodies to persuade our government to condemn the Israeli action. We have welcomed the call by the Prime Minister and other parties as they call for a ceasefire. But those calls ring hollow if they are not accompanied by censure of a government who has no regard for human life. We have therefore welcomed the comments of the Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg who has called on our government to 'unambiguously condemn' Israel, and we support his call for an arms embargo on Israel. He has given hope to our young people that politics does work. We hope other parties will follow suit. Please continue to lobby your MPs and engage with others to highlight the plight of the Palestinians.
Wa alaikum salam warahmatullah
Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari
Secretary General, MCB
Eight ways you can help the people of Palestine
1. Demonstrate: Join a Peaceful Protest and let your voice be heard
National Demonstration: Saturday 10 January
Meet at Hyde Park, Speaker's Corner (Nearest Tube: Marble Arch), march to Israeli Embassy.
Other demonstrations on MCB website
2. Donate Money - The Palestinian people are in urgent need for your donations for urgent medical aid and you can donate to:
MCB affiliate - Interpal, the specialist charity helping Palestinians:
Phone: Call the Interpal hotline: 02089619993
Online: Go to www.interpal.org and follow the online instructions
Interpal Account Details:
Account Name: Interpal, Bank: Islamic Bank of Britain, Sort Code: 30-00-83 Account Number: 01095401 BG52LOYD3096401024192
Other MCB charity affiliates specialising in the region are: Islamic Relief (www.islamic-relief.org.uk ), Muslim Aid (www.muslimaid.org ), Muslim Hands (www.muslimhands.org) and Ummah Welfare Trust (www.uwt.org)
3. Lobby Your MP. Get your community to write, call and meet your Member of Parliament. Our MPs have been elected to serve us and we should make sure that we contact them and pressurise them to do something against this Israeli brutality. Lobby your MP to sign or initiate an Early Day Motion that calls on our government to condemn the Israeli government for massacre of Palestinians. Be polite, to the point and make your request specific. You can find out your MP from the link: http://www.theyworkforyou.com
4. Sign the petition. http://www.petitiononline.com/gaza2812/petition.html
There is also a petition underway on the Downing Street website:http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Israel-Sanctions/
5. Get yourself heard. Participate by writing letters to the editor and taking part in television, radio and online discussion forums. Remember to keep your points succinct and polite. http://www.arabmediawatch.com/amw/Resources/LetterWritingTips/tabid/134/Default.aspx
6. Seek Coalitions. Change starts at home so you might also wish to seek local coalitions and work with people around you, of all faiths, to highlight the plight of the Palestinians. This is an issue of humanity and we should work to seek coalitions across faiths.
As we protest peacefully and make our voices heard, please ensure that we are vigilant against any form of hatred or violence that may be perpetuated in the name of this passionate cause. There have been reports of both Islamophobia and anti-semitism as by-products of this tragedy. We must make clear that our opposition is to the state of Israel and to its assault on the Palestinian people.
7. Call the Foreign & Commonwealth Office - Express your concern with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, please call 020 7008 1500. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
8. Remember the power of prayer. MCB is initiating amongst its affiliates and the ulema Special prayers, Qunooot Al-Nazilah, this prayer of the Prophet is recited when Muslims face calamities. For further information, see: http://www.mcb.org.uk/article_detail.php?article=announcement-765