Israel-Gaza: Read 250 Muslim councillors’ letter to Starmer backing ceasefire

Tom Belger
Israeli air strikes on the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. Photo: Shutterstock / Anas-Mohammed

More than 250 Muslim Labour councillors have signed a joint letter to Labour leader Keir Starmer and his deputy Angela Rayner urging an immediate ceasefire, according to the Labour Muslim Councillors Network.

They write in the letter, seen by LabourList and published in full below, that every day Labour does not back a ceasefire, “Gazan children and hundreds of innocent men and women  pay the price”, adding:  “As a party that bases it’s principles on fairness and justice, we can not sit  idly by as Palestinian’s face collective punishment.”

The group called it an “unprecedented letter of unity from Muslim Labour representatives”, which shows the “strength of feeling throughout the nation and in our communities”.

It comes ahead of an expected meeting between Starmer, Rayner and Muslim MPs and peers later today, and following a row over Starmer’s visit to the South Wales Islamic Centre. Leaders there claimed the visit, which sparked a local backlash subsequently, had been “misrepresented” by Labour online.

It also follows a letter from councillors who quit the party to Starmer last week, which similarly backed a ceasefire and accused him of “gaslighting” by denying he had backed the withholding of power and water to Gaza by Israel.

 Labour released a public statement from Keir Starmer later on Thursday saying aid access is “completely insufficient” in Gaza, all parties need to ensure it reaches those in need, and the party supports “humanitarian pauses” as proposed by US secretary of state Anthony Blinken.

Starmer added that”in the long term there can only be a political solution to this crisis”, so talks should start for a two-state solution.

Addressing the Commons on Monday, Starmer had reiterated that Israel “has the right to defend herself” to “get their hostages home but also to defeat Hamas.

National executive committee member Luke Akehurst argued in a LabourList op-ed earlier this week Israel’s fight was a “just war” given the “largest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust” and citizens being held hostage.

He argued it was “impossible” to fight Hamas without civilian casualties given their presence in urban communities, and that a ceasefire would save lives now but cause “more future deaths and destruction as Hamas rebuild and plan more attacks”.

Read the full letter from Muslim councillors:

Dear Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner,

We the undersigned write to you as Muslim Labour Party councillors, formally calling  on the Labour Party to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and an end to the  humanitarian disaster.

5,791 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli strikes on Gaza since 7th October. Of  those killed 2,360 of them have been children. It has also been reported that 704  Palestinians had been killed in the previous 24 hours alone. This is in addition to 1400 Israelis who lost their lives in the shocking terror attacks of October 7th.

Everyday we fail to call on the government and the international community to push  for cessation of hostilities, Gazan children and hundreds of innocent men and women  pay the price. As a party that bases it’s principles on fairness and justice, we can not sit  idly by as Palestinian’s face collective punishment.

This week five UN agencies, including The World Food Programme (WFP) and the  World Health Organization (WHO) have called for a humanitarian ceasefire as they  described the conditions in Gaza as “catastrophic”. Leaders across all faiths, including  the Archbishop of Canterbury, have also called for a ceasefire and polling shows the  vast majority of Britons and Labour voters support this position (YouGov poll: 76% of  the British public support a ceasefire).

The humanitarian aid that has passed through into Gaza through the Rafah crossing is  a ‘drop in the ocean’ compared to the humanitarian crisis at large in the region.  Without an immediate ceasefire, UN agencies, NGO’s and charities have made it clear  that much needed aid will not reach pregnant women, children, critically ill patients  and those others that will simply be left to die.

Gaza is home to 2.2 million people, over half of whom are children. Before this crisis  began, over 80% of the population relied on aid, now this crisis has turned to  catastrophe. The innocent civilians in Gaza have had nothing to do with this crisis and  bear no responsibility to its outcome.

As Labour councillors elected to serve our constituents, the message we have been  hearing repeatedly over the past 2 weeks is simple, people just want an end to the  bloodshed and the loss of innocent life. No nation, no people or community should  have to endure collective punishment and the same should be the case for the  Palestinian people. We are also clear that hostages held captive must also be returned  to their families safely.

Therefore, as Labour Party councillors, as members, and as members of the Muslim  community we urge the Labour Party to urgently adopt a position of calling for an  immediate ceasefire, calling on the UK government and the international community  to act upon this proposal to save innocent human lives.

Yours sincerely,

Cllr Summya Sohaib – Barking and Dagenham

Cllr Fatuma Nalule – Barking and Dagenham

Cllr Saima Ashraf, Deputy Leader – Barking and Dagenham

Cllr Manzoor Hussain – Barking and Dagenham

Cllr Muhammad Saleem, Chair of Planning Committee – Barking and Dagenham

Cllr Sabbir Zamee – Barking and Dagenham

Cllr Regina Rahman  – Barking and Dagenham

Cllr Syed Ghani , Cabinet Member – Barking and Dagenham

Cllr Abu Sultan, Group Whip – Bedford Borough

Cllr Majid Mahmood , Cabinet Member for Environment – Birmingham City Council

Cllr Saima Suleman, Cabinet Member – Birmingham City Council

Cllr Zafar Iqbal – Birmingham City Council

Cllr Basharat Mahmood – Birmingham City Council

Cllr Shabina Bano – Birmingham City Council

Cllr Shafique Shah – Birmingham City Council

Cllr Shehla Moledina – Birmingham City Council

Cllr Waseem Zaffar – Birmingham City Council

Cllr Mohammed Idrees, Chair of Homes O&S Committee – Birmingham City Council

Cllr Bushra Bi – Birmingham City Council

Cllr Mariam Khan, Cabinet Member – Birmingham City Council

Cllr Mohammed Ziaul Islam – Birmingham City Council

Cllr Shabrana Hussain, Scrutiny Chair – Birmingham City Council

Cllr Amar Khan – Birmingham City Council

Cllr Waseem Zaffar – Birmingham City Council

Cllr Saima Ahmed – Birmingham City Council

Cllr Saddak Miah – Birmingham City Council

Cllr Rashad Mahmood  – Birmingham City Council

Cllr Shaukat Hussain – Blackburn Council

Cllr Sonia Khan – Blackburn Council

Cllr Sabiya khan – Blackburn Council

Cllr Safwaan Patel – Bolton Council

Cllr Ibrar Hussain – Bradford Council

Cllr Mohammad Amran  – Bradford Council

Cllr Mohammed Amran – Bradford Council

Cllr Tariq Dar MBE – Brent Council

Cllr Sandra Kabir – Brent Council

Cllr Saqlain Choudry – Brent Council

Cllr Rita Begum – Brent Council

Cllr Saqib Butt, Vice Chair Planning Committee – Brent Council

Cllr Ishma Moeen – Brent Council

Cllr Majid Hussain – Buckinghamshire Council

Cllr Ummrana Farooq – Bury Council

Cllr Ayesha Arif – Bury council

Cllr Babar Ibrahim – Bury Council

Cllr Tamoor Tariq, Deputy Leader of the Council – Bury Council

Cllr Shaheena Haroon – Bury Metropolitan Council

Cllr Hanif. Raja MBE – City Council Glasgow

Cllr Imran Alam – City Council Glasgow

Cllr Rashid Hussain – City Council Glasgow

Cllr Saqib Ahmed – City Council Glasgow

Cllr Soryia Siddique, Deputy Leader – City Council Glasgow

Cllr Majid Khan – Doncaster City Council

Cllr Shaneila Mughal, Shadow Cabinet Member – Dudley MBC

Cllr Qadar Zada – Dudley MBC

Cllr Dr Aysha Raza – Ealing Council

Cllr Arshad Ahsan Afsar – East Staffordshire Borough Council

Cllr Ali Chaudhry – East Staffordshire Borough Council

Cllr Soraya Adejare – Hackney Council

Cllr Humaira Garasia – Hackney Council

Cllr Ghazanfar Ali , Former Mayor – Harrow Council

Cllr Labina Basit – Hillingdon Council

Cllr Jilani Chowdhury – Islington Council

Cllr Saiqa Pandor  – Islington Council

Cllr Ilkay Cinko-Oner – Islington Council

Cllr Ibtisam Adem, Policy Lead – Sanctuary Services  – Lambeth Council

Cllr Yousuf Motala – Lancashire County Council

Cllr Javaid Akhtar, Chair Labour Group – Leeds City Council

Cllr Mohammed Iqbal – Leeds City Council

Cllr Mahalia France-Mir – Leeds City Council

Mohammed Shahzad  – Leeds City Council

Cllr Mohammad Rafique, Cabinet Member – Leeds City Council

Cllr Zara Hussain – Leeds City Council

Cllr Salma Arif, Cabinet Member – Leeds City Council

Cllr Asghar Khan, Scrutiny Chairman – Leeds City Council

Cllr Gohar Almass  – Leeds City Council

Cllr Raffiq Moosa Mohammed – Leicester City Council

Cllr Hanif Aqbany – Leicester City Council

Cllr Yasmin Surti – Leicester City Council

Cllr Misbah Batool – Leicester City Council

Cllr Fatima Begum – Luton Council

Cllr Tahmina Saleem, Portfolio Holder Children’s Services – Luton Council

Cllr Yaqub Hanif, Mayor of Luton – Luton Council

Cllr Zanib Raja – Luton Council

Cllr Umme Ali – Luton Council

Cllr Alia Khan, Chief Whip – Luton Council

Cllr Mahmood Hussain – Luton Council

Cllr Naeem ul Hassan – Manchester City Council

Cllr Yasmine Dar, Lord Mayor – Manchester City Council

Cllr Fiaz Riasat – Manchester City Council

Cllr Zahid Hussain – Manchester City Council

Cllr Shaukat Ali – Manchester City Council

Cllr Abid Chohan – Manchester City Council

Cllr Shazia Butt – Manchester City Council

Cllr Zulfiqar Ali, Cabinet Member for Finance & Resources – Newham Council

Cllr Zuber Gulamussen – Newham Council

Cllr Mariam Dawood – Newham Council

Cllr Salim Patel – Newham Council

Cllr Nur begum – Newham Council

Cllr Imam Haque – Newham Council

Cllr Mumtaz Khan, Deputy Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care – Newham Council

Cllr Sabia kamali, Cabinet Member – Newham Council

Cllr Salim Patel – Newham Council

Cllr Liaqat Ali – Nottingham City Council

Cllr Salma Mumtaz – Nottingham City Council

Cllr Mohammad Ammer – Pendle Borough Council

Cllr Ruby Anwar – Pendle Borough Council

Cllr Zafar Ali, Executive Portfolio Holder – Pendle Borough Council

Cllr Juma Begum – Redditch Borough Council

Cllr Sid Khan, Chief Whip – Redditch Borough Council

Cllr Carol Wardle, Cabinet member – Rochdale Borough Council

Cllr Mohammad Arshad – Rochdale Borough Council

Cllr Aasim Rashid, Former Mayor – Rochdale Borough Council

Cllr Shahid Mohammed  – Rochdale Borough Council

Cllr Saghir Alam, Cabinet Member – Rotherham Council

Cllr Tajamal khan – Rotherham Council

Cllr Taiba Yasseen, Chair of Health Select Commission – Rotherham Council

Cllr Mohammed Bakhtiar – Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

Cllr Nabeela Mowlana – Sheffield City Council

Cllr Mazher Iqbal – Sheffield City Council

Cllr Nighat Basharat  – Sheffield City Council

Cllr Safiya Saeed – Sheffield City Council

Cllr Zaffar Ajaib  – Slough Borough Council

Cllr Sabia Akram – Slough Borough Council

Cllr Maroof Bibi Mohammad – Slough Borough Council

CllrMohammed Nazir – Slough Borough Council

Cllr Forhad Chowdhury – Stevenage Borough Council

Cllr Nazmin Chowdhury – Stevenage Borough Council

Cllr Amjid wazir, Deputy leader – Stoke Council

Cllr Majid khan, Lord Mayor – Stoke-on-Trent Council

Cllr Waseem Akbar – Stoke-on-Trent Council

Cllr Naila Sharif  – Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council

Cllr Tafheen Sharif – Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council

Cllr Mohammad Chowdhury, Secretary Labour Group – Tower Hamlets Council

Cllr Faroque Mahfuza Ahmed – Tower Hamlets Council

Cllr Asma Islam Group Chair – Tower Hamlets Council

Cllr Sabina Akhtar, Group Whip – Tower Hamlets Council

Cllr Abdal Ullah – Tower Hamlets Council

Cllr Armaan Khan – Wakefield Council

Cllr Saqa Nasreen – Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council

Cllr Aftab Nawaz , Leader of Labour Group -Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council

Cllr Farhana Hassan – Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council

Cllr Shakila Begum Hussain – Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council

Cllr Naheed Gultasib, Shadow Cabinet Member- Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council

Cllr Abdus Nazir – Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council

Cllr Khizar Hussain, Deputy leader  – Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council

Cllr Hajran Bashir  – Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council

Cllr Sabina Ditta , Shadow Cabinet Education – Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council

Cllr Ahsan Khan, Deputy Leader  – Waltham Forest Council

Cllr Shabana Dhedhi  – Waltham Forest Council

Cllr Aydin Dikerdem, Cabinet Member for Housing – Wandsworth Council

Cllr Asif Khan – Watford Council

Cllr Hamza Taouzzale – Westminster City Council

Cllr Abdul Aziz Toki – Chair Audit Performance committee, Chair of License Committee Westminster City Council

Cllr Liza Begum , Cabinet Member for Housing Services -Westminster City Council

Cllr Obaida Ahmed, Cabinet Member for Digital and Community Inclusion  – Wolverhampton City Council

Cllr Iqra Tahir  – Wolverhampton City Council

Cllr Qaiser Azeem – Wolverhampton City Council

Cllr Jabba Riaz, Deputy leader – Worcester City Council

Cllr Basharat Ali – Worcester City Council

Cllr Joseph Ghayouba – Cumberland Council

Cllr Saeed Adan – Newport Council

Cllr Suleman Khonat – Blackburn Council

Cllr Saeed Ebrahim – Cardiff Council

Cllr Areeq Chowdhury – Newham Council

Cllr Pat Akhtar – Preston City Council

Cllr Shumel Rahman – Newcastle Council

Cllr Imran Safdar – Kirklees Council

Cllr Yusra Hussain – Kirklees Council

Cllr Zainab Asunramu – Bexley Council

Cllr Sajid Ali – Bolton Council


More from LabourList


We provide our content free, but providing daily Labour news, comment and analysis costs money. Small monthly donations from readers like you keep us going. To those already donating: thank you.

If you can afford it, can you join our supporters giving £10 a month?

And if you’re not already reading the best daily round-up of Labour news, analysis and comment…