Muslim leader sues Blears in Gaza row

The deputy general secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain is suing Communities Secretary Hazel Blears for defamation following a row over Israel’s actions in Gaza.

Dr Daud Abdullah is seeking damages after Ms Blears accused him of calling for violence against Jewish communities and British troops. He had attended a conference in Istanbul at which he signed a controversial final declaration. This stated that sending foreign warships into Muslim waters to halt arms smuggling would be seen as an act of war. Those who stood with Israel, it said, would be considered the same as the “Zionist enemy”.

A Communities department spokeswoman confirmed that correspondence had been received from Dr Abdullah’s solicitors.

“The legal route that Dr Abdullah has chosen to take, despite our offer of further private dialogue with the MCB to resolve the matter, means this will now be taken forward by solicitors.”

Dr Abdullah, a lecturer in Islamic studies at Birkbeck College, London, has denied Ms Blears’ claims, maintaining: “I do not advocate attacks on any religious community, including Jewish communities, and I do not advocate attacks on British military forces.”

    Last updated: 10:35am, April 7 2009