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A Tale of 2 British Muslim politicians: Interview with al-Quds

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Q: Some political figures in Britain like Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid or Mayor of London Sadiq Khan have come into the top levels of  British government. These officials are Muslim but they are actually staunch supporters of Israel. What is your assessment of this?

We must be careful not to lump all such public figures into one heap. Sajid Javid refers only to his "Muslim heritage" and denies any religious affiliation now. So he is perfect for the British government. A nice Muslim-sounding name with no strings attached. He is a life-long conservative, was a big supporter of Margaret Thatcher, and is a banker to boot.

At a 'Conservative Friends of Israel' lunch in 2012, the Jewish Chronicle reported Javid as stating that "if he had to leave Britain to live in the Middle East, then he would choose Israel as home. Only there, he said, would his children feel the 'warm  embrace of freedom and liberty'". He will have a 'warm embrace' in hell when he meets his Maker.

Sadiq Khan, also of Pakistani descent, is a life-long Labour supporter, formerly MP for Tooting, South London, poor mans' London, from 2005 to 2016. He is on the Labour Party's 'soft left'.  His election as Mayor of London made him the city's first ethnic minority mayor, and the first Muslim to become mayor of a major western capital. Khan is a friendly, open man, a fine Muslim, and  gained the affection of Londoners of all stripes, winning the largest personal mandate of any politician in Britain (57%), despite being victimized and vilified but Zionists and other racists during his campaign.

Khan's focus has always been on inter-ethnic cohesion and interfaith dialogue. He is attacked from all sides of the political spectrum. His Zionist opponents have criticised his  willingness to share a platform with allegedly fundamentalist Islamic clerics, mainly from his time as MP in Tooting. His work to improve relations between Muslim communities and wider British society has meant that he received security threats from both Islamist and far-right activists. As a boy, he encountered racism, which led to him and his brothers taking up boxing.

He was one of 36 Labour MPs to nominate Jeremy Corbyn as a candidate in the Labour leadership election of 2015, but has said  that he was "no patsy" to Corbyn, and did not vote for him in the  end. So he is a progressive, but not committed to overthrowing the 'new Labour' of Tony Blair. But he is no patsy of Israel either.  

While fasting during Ramadan in 2016, Khan declared that he would use the period as an opportunity to help "break down the mystique and suspicion" surrounding Islam in Britain and help to "get out  there and build bridges" between communities, organizing iftars at synagogues, churches, and mosques. He then appeared at a Trafalgar Square celebration of Eid al-Fitr, endorsing religious freedom and  lambasting "criminals who do bad things and use the name of Islam  to justify what they do".

In his first weeks as Mayor, Khan criticized foreign investors for treating homes in London as "gold bricks for investment", instead urging them to invest in the construction of affordable homes for Londoners through a new agency, Homes for Londoners, which he set  up, funded by both public and private money.

Many right-wing American media outlets reacting with horror at his election. The far right party Britain First issued a press statement declaring Khan a Muslim "occupier" engaged in entryism (joining an organization in an attempt to expand influence of one's program), and threatened to target where he "lives, works  and prays" with direct action protest.

Khan follows the political current, allowing popular policies that  are 'politically correct', like same-sex marriage, despite not necessarily personally accepting them, putting him at odds with orthodox Muslims. That is the price of being such a prominent, publicly elected official. There was a fatwa put out against him, in which an Imam declared him to be no longer a Muslim, forcing  him to accept police protection.

So on the whole, Khan is a great gift to both London and to  Muslims everywhere. No one in the West has done more as a public figure to show that Islam is a religion of tolerance and peace, whatever one might think of his individual policies.

Q: Does Israel have a role in the success of these kinds of officials in Britain and other countries?

The most prominent pro-Israel organization lobbying western  political parties is the 'Friends of Israel Initiative', founded, among others, by British Conservative Party peer, former First  Minister of Northern Ireland and Nobel Peace Prize winner David Trimble. The Conservatives are the torch-bearer for Israel.

But Labour was long ago co-opted by the Zionists. These 'Friends' organizations keep the parties in line, and even provide financing  to MPs. The latest bribery political scandal involved Labour Friends of Israel. There are even Northern Ireland Friends of  Israel, and of course European Friends of Israel in every European capital.

We can be sure they are not happy with Khan. He is not a 'friend' of Israel but has been careful to keep the Zionists at bay, unlike all other prominent Labour politicians. At an Iftar at a synagogue that was attending by 200 people, mostly Jews and Muslim  immigrants from Somalia, including some MPs belonging to ‘Labour  Friends of Israel’, he said he was ‘concerned’ about the rise of antisemitism in the city as result of Brexit victory. How's that for walking the Zionist tightrope covering Britain?

Khan supported staying in Europe. His concern that anti-Jewish  sentiment could increase is not without foundation, given the way Zionists have kidnapped the meaning of 'Jewish', forcing all Jews  to support Israel as the very definition of Jewishness. As mayor, he must be concerned for all Londoners, including Jews. Following the Brexit referendum, the spate of racially motivated attacks indeed increased. But there were none against Jews; rather against  blacks, Asians and Muslims. So British Jews can sleep in peace.

On the whole, Khan is no Zionist, but rather mayor of arguably the  most important city in the West, and deserves respect from Muslims. All public figures in the West are forced to kowtow to Zionist media pressure, and Khan is deft at deflecting their wrath, keeping a low profile on an issue that can only be a  pointless distraction as mayor. Recall London's iconic mayor Ken Livingstone, leader of the Greater London Council from 1981 until the council was abolished in 1986 by Thatcher, and Mayor of London from 2000 until 2008, and as MP for Brent East from 1987 to  2001.

Livingstone was pilloried ceaselessly by Zionists and other right-wingers and suspended as a member of the Labour Party for his efforts. As a white, Livingstone was able to survive through widespread support. Khan's Pakistani origins are an added challenge to his success in the public sphere, and he is arguably a more responsible mayor than the flamboyant Red Ken was, not allowing his passions to distract him from the pressing work of helping Londoners from all walks of life.

Q: What is your opinion about role of Israel in forming alliance and  coordinating between Wahhabism, Zionism and ISIS?

I don't see a direct link between Zionism and ISIS or Wahhabism,  though Israel does benefit from the disarray of Islam. ISIS is a  direct instance of 'blowback' for US and Israeli imperialism. Wahhabism is a Saudi sect.

Q: Regarding the continuation of Israeli crimes especially on Palestinian people, how do you see Israeli isolation around the world in 2016?

Moral people everywhere are against Israeli atrocities.

A personal anecdote from a bike trip yesterday in Toronto: Descending a steep, narrow staircase on a bike path in Toronto, I  had to stop to make way for a young fellow hauling his bike up. It  was a hot September day and he was covered in sweat, so I stopped  him to ask directions. He wiped the sweat from his brow and said  with irritation:

"I don't know where the path is. I was trying to get through to  the suburb, and couldn't get through."

His accent was Russian, so I said, "Vy russki?" Usually Russians abroad brighten when they are addressed in Russian, but he just  looked beleaguered. I offered to help, but he disdainfully said,  "I served in the army. I'm fine." "The Russian army?" "No, the  Israeli," almost embarrassed. "Everyone hates us," he said  despondently, as he renewed his climb.

"Yes," I called out, "but I'll make an exception for you." I felt  sorry for a Russian who probably encountered hostility for being a  Jew only after emigrating to Israel and being forced to arrest,  kill and otherwise terrorize the natives. Zionists will shout, "the new antisemitism", but it's really just another symptom of  their penchant to shoot themselves in the foot.

al-Quds
 

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Canadian Eric Walberg is known worldwide as a journalist specializing in the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia. A graduate of University of Toronto and Cambridge in economics, he has been writing on East-West relations since the 1980s.

He has lived in both the Soviet Union and Russia, and then Uzbekistan, as a UN adviser, writer, translator and lecturer. Presently a writer for the foremost Cairo newspaper, Al Ahram, he is also a regular contributor to Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Global Research, Al-Jazeerah and Turkish Weekly, and is a commentator on Voice of the Cape radio.

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