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Scottish Muslim group withdraws from anti-racism march because of pro-Israel group’s inclusion

The Stand Up to Racism march is due to take place tomorrow in Glasgow

    The Stand Up To Racism march in Glasgow, 2016

    The Muslim Council of Scotland (MCS) has withdrawn from an anti-racism march because the Confederation of Friends of Israel, Scotland (Cofis) will be taking part.

    In a statement published on Facebook, the MCS said it was “disappointed to see that SUTR [Stand Up To Racism] will not stand up to apologists for apartheid and racism, in the shape of Cofis”.

    The group said as a result it had decided to “regretfully withdraw” from tomorrow’s march in Glasgow.

    Nigel Goodrich, the convenor of Cofis and chief executive of Scotland’s annual International Shalom Festival, wrote on social media that “Cofis abhors all forms of racism.

    “We have been made aware of aggressive attempts to prevent us from taking part, orchestrated by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC).”

    In an article for the Times today, Sammy Stein, chairman of Glasgow Friends of Israel, wrote: “For many years Israel-hating groups have had a free hand in the streets of Glasgow to demonise the state of Israel without challenge or reproach.

    “They have been able to employ rhetoric that did not mention the word ‘peace’ or advocate peace for both peoples, which alone will solve the conflict.

    “So to those who seek to ban peaceful participants in peaceful demonstrations, I’d urge that for once you put your hatred aside and try to be tolerant of others you do not agree with.

    “Why don’t we join together and march in unison, standing up to racism together? Put your hatreds to one side, let’s walk together in peace. It’s worth a try and we have nothing to lose.”

    Earlier this week, Azzam Muhammad, vice-convenor of the MCS, was pictured at the Fourth Global Convention of Solidarity with Palestine, in Beirut.

    At the conference, antisemite Gilad Atzmon was presented with an award, while Dovid Weiss, of the anti-Zionist Neturei Karta sect, gave a gift to Sheikh Naim Qassem, Deputy Secretary General of Hezbollah, to be passed on to Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah leader.

    In his speech to the conference, Sheikh Qassem stated: “There is no way to regain Palestine other than through the resistance — first and foremost, armed resistance, followed by all other forms of resistance.

    “We shall not replace resistance by weapons with any other form of resistance, until this enemy surrenders, and surrender it will.”

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