Tuesday, 5 July 2011

To Tom Harris, MP, on UK detention of Sheikh Raed Salah

5 July 2011

Dear Tom Harris

As one of your constituents, I'd like to have your views on the recent arrest and detention of Sheikh Raed Salah and for you to forward my concerns to the Home Office for reply.

A deeply-respected advocate for the Arab-Palestinian community inside Israel, Sheikh Raed Salah - often called the "Gandhi of Palestine" - has committed no crime in denouncing Israel's illegal occupation and apartheid practices or in coming to the UK to speak about such oppressions.

It's a disturbing irony that this peaceful man is facing deportation while the UK authorities - seemingly influenced by an active Israeli lobby and hatemongering tabloid media - protect and fail to arrest incoming Israeli politicians/military figures deeply implicated in war crimes, notably in Gaza. 

Deep concern over Sheikh Raed Salah's arrest has been expressed by many human rights groups, academics and others, including this statement from Noam Chomsky in a letter to the Guardian:  
Double standards over Salah's arrest
Monday 4 July 2011

I was deeply disturbed to learn Sheikh Raed Salah is under threat of deportation on grounds that this action would be "conducive to the public good" (Inquiry after banned Palestinian enters UK, 30 June). On the contrary, it would be very harmful to the public good, at least if the public good is construed as encouraging free and open discussion of issues of great significance. Sheikh Salah, former mayor of the most important Arab town in Israel, Umm al Fahm, has played a very important role as a representative of the Arab community, domestically and internationally. He has been a respected voice advocating rights and justice, a voice that most definitely should be heard in the west. I trust that this decision of the government will be rescinded, that he will be released from detention without delay, and that he will be able to continue with his talks and discussions in Britain.

Noam Chomsky
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Please also see this sober and illuminating account from Jonathan Cook on the campaign of vilification against Sheikh Raed Salah.

As an uncomfortable voice for truth and justice, one can see Israel's dark rationale for spreading malicious lies about Sheikh Raed Salah.  But the Home Office's own prohibitive actions also, in effect, constitute incitement to hatred.

Is the continued detention and smearing of this man legal and legitimate in your view?

I look forward to your response.

Kind regards

John Hilley 

No comments: