Muslim Diaspora Demands: Keir Starmer’s Call to Action

Author Alexander Tatiev
Category Columnists, Town
Date May 13 2024
Reading Time 3 min.

Muslim Diaspora Demands: Keir Starmer’s Call to Action

The Labour Party is practically faced with a dilemma: either-or! The Muslim Vote, a pre-election group representing a significant part of the Muslim community in the UK, has issued an extensive list of demands to the Labour Party, aimed at restoring trust and regaining voter support ahead of the upcoming general elections. This document is a response from The Muslim Vote to Keir Starmer’s ambiguous position regarding Israel’s campaign against HAMAS in Gaza.

The demands, totalling 18, not only call for a review of the Labour Party’s stance on the Gaza conflict but also for addressing a wide range of issues affecting the Muslim community in the UK. The list begins with a call for Starmer to publicly apologise for what the group perceives as silent endorsement and “coverage of genocide,” and for ignoring proposals for a ceasefire in October-November 2023.

Furthermore, The Muslim Vote demands specific actions to “correct injustices.” For example, imposing sanctions on companies operating in Israeli-occupied territories, recognisingPalestine as a sovereign state, and banning visits to the UK by Israeli politicians involved in the continuation of “illegal occupation.”

The issue of military cooperation with Israel is particularly contentious: The Muslim Vote calls for an immediate cessation of such ties and emphasizes the responsibility of British politicians for fuelling conflicts abroad. In addition, the list includes a range of domestic issues that define the lives of the Muslim community, including the demand to repeal the extremism definition introduced by Michael Gove, adopting a new definition of Islamophobia, and addressing socio-economic problems such as funding for deprived areas, payment of pensions in accordance with Sharia norms, and diverting a portion of pensions from public sector employees into Islamic funds. Thus, The Muslim Vote advocates for systemic changes in public life that go beyond the immediate context of the Gaza conflict.

The influence of The Muslim Vote should not be underestimated: the organisation represents a significant portion of the Muslim electorate and enjoys support from various segments of society. Its demands reflect the collective mood of a large portion of voters and the determination to pressure political leaders to change the status quo for Muslims in the country. For Keir Starmer and the Labour Party, the task is not only to acknowledge these demands but also to take concrete steps to address them. Otherwise, Labour risks alienating Muslim voters and undermining the party’s credibility on issues of social justice and international solidarity.

So, the ball is now in Starmer’s court. Whether he can handle the serve remains to be seen. Here is the full list of demands from The Muslim Vote to Keir Starmer:

1. Apologise for your comments greenlighting a genocide [of the Palestinian population] for not backing the ceasefire in Oct/Nov 2023.
2. Sanctions on companies operating in occupied territories. Sanctions on settlers
3. Recognise Palestine as a state
4. Travel ban on all Israeli politicians that prosecuted this war and support the illegal occupation
5. End military ties with Israel
6. Issue guidance that Muslims are allowed to pray at school
7. Implement findings of peoples review of Prevent not [William] Shawcross’s (presumably referring to the fact that journalist William Shawcross, responsible for creating the state strategy to counter terrorism, is deemed by some analysts to be guilty of dishonesty as a researcher and erroneous conclusions regarding radical Islamism).
8. Remove the extremism definition that [Michael] Gove introduced
9. Commit to full implementation of Royal Charter re media regulation
10. Adopt the APPG definition of Islamophobia
11. Commit to a review of public sector equality duty
12. Increase council and public health funding for the 10 per cent most deprived areas in the country to finally address systemic and chronic health inequities as detailed in the Marmot Review and revisited by the Health Foundation 10 years later
13. Deliver alternative student finance
14. Ensure Sharia-compliant pensions are available at every workplace, so the one-third of Muslims without a pension get one
15. Ensure insurance quotes dont cost more for someone called Muhammad
16. Commit 7 per cent of the local government pension scheme/public sector pensions to ethical and Islamic funds
17. Oppose Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) bill. Kick it out of law (presumably referring to the proposed bill to ban anti-Israel boycotts).
18. Remove the archaic spiritual influenceoffence from statute

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