Muslims back suspended British MP

With only days to go before the disciplinary hearing for suspended MP George Galloway, British Muslims have voiced their support for the firebrand anti-war politician.

    Galloway has been suspended for criticising the Iraq invasion

    The Glasgow Kelvin representative was suspended in May over complaints about remarks critical of the Iraq invasion he made on Abu Dhabi television.

    Galloway memorably described Tony Blair and US President George Bush as 'wolves' for attacking Iraq.

    His disciplinary hearing, on 22 October, could end in him being expelled from Britain’s ruling Labour party.

    The Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), key members of Britain’s Stop the War Coalition, has called on the Labour government to reinstate him.

    A large number of protesters are expected to lobby and campaign outside the London hearing.

    “Galloway is a special breed of politician, not one who offers apologies in order not to displease anyone,” MAB spokesman Anas al-Tikriti, told Aljazeera.

    “He is a true example of what politicians ought to do and how they should conduct themselves.”

    Protest in numbers

    As part of its campaign, the MAB is calling on Muslims and the broader British society to show their support for Galloway by not only writing to their local MPs, the Labour government and press, but also attending the hearing “in droves”.

    Galloway told Aljazeera.net that he valued the support of his fellow anti-war campaigners and that he expected a good turnout at the hearing.

    "The Stop the War Coalition is mobilising for the day and of course the MAB is an integral part of that coalition," he said.

    Galloway expects Britain's anti-war movement to support him

    "A microcosm of the movement will let the Labour show trial know what they think of an elected official being gagged for voicing his opinion," he said.

    Despite this, in the light of UK press reports that the Labour party plans to discipline other rebel MPs over their opposition to the war, he did not expect the hearing to go in his favour.

    If his worst fears are realised he said he would be forced to consider standing as an independent candidate in the next general election.

    “I fear the worst,” he said. “I hope to fight the next election from within the Labour party, but if necessary I will fight it from outside.”

    “I’m not courting expulsion,” he added.

    Other battles

    Galloway has a relationship with the Muslim community going back many years, since the MP first spoke out against the plight of the Palestinian nation and sanctions against Iraq.

    At one stage he picketed the Iraqi embassy in London to campaign against British arms companies supplying the country, under Saddam Hussein, with weapons.

    Galloway has issued libel proceedings against a British newspaper over claims he accepted money from ousted Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.

    An American newspaper in May apologised to Galloway after it too alleged that he accepted millions of pounds from Saddam. The Christian Science Monitor admitted that a set of documents upon which it based its story on were “almost certainly” fake and issued an apology.

    "A microcosm of the (anti-war) movement will let the Labour show trial know what they think of an elected official being gagged for voicing his opinion"

    George Galloway MP

    Reports said files on Galloway had been found among the burnt-out remains of the Iraqi Foreign Ministry in Iraq. The files appeared to name Galloway as a recipient of large sums of money.

    Without having seen the documents, reportedly in the possession of the British paper, Galloway, in a statement, had said that “from the way they have been described to me, I can state they bear all the hallmarks of having been either forged or doctored and are designed to discredit those against the war.”

    New controversy

    Last week he stirred up further Labour ire by likening the party’s annual conference to a Nazi rally.

    “It was like a Nuremberg rally, and in fact the leader's speech had a lot of the leader principle - the Führer principle - about it,” he said.

    Questioned on whether he was equating Blair with Adolf Hitler, he added, “No, but I'm equating the Labour Party conference with a Ceausescu-ish desire to suppress any sign of political life and to subjugate the party and its democracy to a kind of follow-the-leader idea.”

    SOURCE: Aljazeera


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