The Muslim Council of Scotland (MCS) has withdrawn from the anti-racism march in Glasgow on Saturday over the failure by the organisers - Stand Up to Racism Scotland - to stand against Israeli apartheid and racism.
The move follows last Saturday's decision by Stand Up to Racism Scotland to reject a motion from SACC calling for the Confederation of Friends of Israel in Scotland (COFIS) to be told it is not welcome on march because its aims are "incompatible with the principles and aims of SUTR". The motion stated that COFIS "works in partnership with the Israeli government and international pro-Israel organisations" and was "founded in order to counter the work of Palestine solidarity campaigners in Scotland". SACC understands that MCS was disappointed that SUTR, having rejected the SACC resolution, failed to take any other steps to express its opposition to Israeli apartheid or to limit the impact of COFIS on the march.
The Muslim Women's Association of Edinburgh has also withdrawn support from the march, saying "we cannot support a rally that welcomes a group supporting the oppressive State of Israel" and calling for SUTR to reject COFIS just as it would reject the racist Football Lads Alliance (FLA) - which claims, like COFIS, not to be racist - if it were to appear on the march.
Organisations that campaign for Palestinian rights, including the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Scottish Friends of Palestine, have withdrawn from the march too.
A grassroots rebellion is taking place against SUTR's refusal to listen to the concerns on this issue expressed by people of all communities, but especially the Muslim community. Muslims are on the front line of the struggle against racism in the UK. SUTR emphasises that it campaigns against Islamophobia, but Muslim confidence in its ability to represent them is declining fast.
Muslim Council of Scotland (MCS) Position Statement on Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) March
Issued Thursday 15 March 2018
"The SUTR March against Racism has been an important event since 2016, one that MCS has been proud to take part in. This year, the theme of the March, “Stand up to Racism, Islamophobia and Anti Semitism; Refugees Welcome” is one which MCS wholeheartedly supports and has been working for since its inception.
Today more than ever, organisations like MCS need to be loud and strong voices speaking up for minorities and arguing for the diverse tapestry of Scottish Society in which we live. We also need to stand for and give a voice to oppressed people across the world.
The march forms part of the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which was established in memory of the Sharpeville massacre in Apartheid South Africa in 1960. We were therefore disappointed to see that SUTR will not stand against apologists for Israeli Apartheid and Racism, in the shape of COFIS, who plan to join the march as they did last year.
With this in mind and after listening to our members and affiliates, MCS regretfully withdraws from the Stand Up To Racism march in Glasgow on Saturday 17th. We reached this decision after much deliberation, debate and careful thought. Finally, we remain committed to building a strong and united front to fight all forms of Racism and will continue to work to do so."
Photo © Muslim Council of Scotland