Contact Us

UK opposition leader accused of 'gravely' misrepresenting mosque visit

Anadolu Agency EUROPE
Published October 25,2023
British Labour Party leader Keir Starmer (AA Photo)

Labour Party leader Keir Starmer is under fire Wednesday for misrepresenting a recent visit to a mosque in Wales.

The main opposition leader is again being criticized for his stance on the Israel-Palestine conflict, this time coming from the South Wales Islamic Centre and Muslim Association of Britain (MAB).

Starmer visited a mosque Sunday in Wales and met members from the Muslim community of the South Wales Islamic Centre.

After the visit he wrote on X: "I repeated our calls for all hostages to be released, more humanitarian aid to enter Gaza, for the water and power to be switched back on, and a renewed focus on the two state solution," and posted pictures from the visit.

But the South Wales Islamic Centre said late Tuesday that the social media post and images, shared by Starmer "gravely misrepresented" congregants and the nature of the visit.

"Our intention was to raise concerns of the Muslim community around the suffering of Palestinians, and so we hosted an event initially with local representatives on the issue, and the knowledge of Keir Starmer's attendance was given a shorth notice," it said in a statement.

It added that during the visit, members of the community challenged Keir on his statements on the Israeli government's right to cut food, electricity and water to Gaza, "warranting war crimes as well as his failure to call for an immediate ceasefire."

"We recognize that while our intention was to raise the issue of suffering of Palestinians, regrettably the outcome has put the South Wales Islamic Centre and the wider community into disrepute," it said.

The South Wales Islamic Centre reproduced Starmer's controversial post in the statement and expressed "dismay" about the representation of the visit.

"We affirm, unequivocally, the need for a free Palestine. We implore all those with political authority to uphold international law, and to end the occupation of Palestine," it said.


The MAB also criticized Starmer and demanded mosques and Islamic centers boycott the Labour Party until it will "apologise for excusing war crimes, call for an immediate ceasefire and call for an end to the occupation of Palestine."

"Muslim votes will not be taken for granted and we will not be used for photo opportunities," it wrote on X.

It noted Starmer thought it appropriate to visit a mosque and demand the release of hostages but it is "deeply offensive and Islamophobic," and to then misrepresent the congregation of the mosque in a "blatant attempt to save face over his appalling comments is shameful."

Starmer added another post to the controversial comments.

"I was questioned by members and I was deeply moved to hear their pain and horror at the suffering of civilians in Gaza," he wrote. "I made clear it is not and has never been my view that Israel had the right to cut off water, food, fuel or medicines. International law must be followed."

The Labour Party has seen a series of resignations from councilors after Starmer said in controversial remarks that Israel had the "right" to cut power and water supplies to Palestinians living in Gaza. The remarks sparked controversy within the party.

Israel launched a relentless bombardment campaign on Gaza following a surprise attack by Hamas on Oct. 7, putting the enclave's residents under total siege and a blockade of food, fuel, and medical supplies. Aid supplies have since started to trickle in, but at levels far below the public need.

Nearly 8,000 people have been killed in the conflict, including at least 6,546 Palestinians and 1,400 Israelis.