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UK Arab platform to hold 'open dialogue' for Arab candidates

Arabs of London platform to hold 'open dialogue' for British Arab candidates to talk to voters ahead of UK general election
4 min read
21 June, 2024
British Arabs see the UK elections as a chance to punish those who have backed Israel's brutal war on Gaza and support those who have stood with humanity.

The UK is about to witness what will be a pivotal general election as tensions rage internationally, specifically in light of the continuing war on the besieged and decimated Gaza Strip.

The vote of the Arab community could play an important role in major cities like London, Birmingham and Manchester, where there is strong competition between candidates and where every vote is crucial.

Moreover, this round of British elections has taken on a heightened relevance among British Arabs, allowing them to back candidates who have stood firm on the issues they care about, especially those related to the Middle East, and Palestine, as well as other, local concerns like integration, fighting discrimination, education, and social services.

To highlight the importance of British Arab voices, the Arabs of London platform and the Arab Thinking Forum have co-organised an open dialogue on Tuesday 25 June.

The event will be the first of its kind and will bring together several prominent Arab candidates standing in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

The Arab candidates taking part in the event will include Helmi Alharahsheh (Ealing North), Sameh Habeeb (Ealing North), Mona Adam (Kensington and Bayswater), Nada Jarche (Ealing Central and Acton), Khalid Abu Tayyem (Cambridge) and Taghrid Al-Mawed (Ceredigion Preseli).

The dialogue will provide the candidates the chance to meet the Arab community in Britain face-to-face to discuss their electoral programmes while urging Arab voters to support them.

The candidates can also explain the negative ramifications of choosing not to participate in the British elections.

The Arabs of London platform has suggested that the suitable response to parties and MPs who have backed Israel's brutal war and refused to vote for a ceasefire is to punish them by not voting for them.

The platform singled out the Labour Party in particular as deserving to lose Arab votes due to Labour leader Keir Starmer adopting a biased position towards Israel and supportive of its war on the Palestinians.

It referred to the now infamous LBC video clip in which Starmer appears, stating he supported Israel cutting off electricity and water to the Gaza Strip, and considered this a legitimate measure and one of Israel's rights.

Muhammad Amin, president of Arabs of London, spoke to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, The New Arab's Arabic-language sister edition, and described the coming election as historical and pivotal, because of the continuing genocidal war in Gaza.

He said the elections were a chance for British Arabs to make their voices heard and transform the massive marches that have filled the streets of Britain in support of Palestine into organised political action.

"They can do this by punishing the politicians who have failed the Palestinian people and legitimised Israel's war against them and supporting the politicians and MPs who stood with Gaza, voted for a ceasefire, and demanded halting weapons sales to Israel and holding it accountable," Amin said. 

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Amin added that educating the Arab community about the importance of their votes and urging them to participate in the upcoming British elections is a "very important task."

The platform aims to raise awareness through dialogues, programmes and events aimed at enhancing the effective political participation of the Arab community.

The open dialogue on June 25 is expected to see a large turnout due to being held just one week before the date of the elections on July 4.

Arabs in London is the first Arab platform to address the Arab community in Britain. It co-organises various events and talks with the Arab Thinking Forum and established the Arab Community Conference last year at the initiative of a group of Arab activists living in Britain — which platformed a diverse group of thinkers, activists, journalists, and writers, as well as representatives of various Arab communities residing in Britain.

It was the first initiative that attempted to create an organisation with which the Arab community could unify and represent itself in the UK and aims to become an umbrella for the community.

In light of the current situation in Gaza, the Arab Community Conference also delivered a message to the UK Prime Minister and received a letter in response explaining the British position towards the conflict.

This was the first instance of direct communication addressed to the "Arab community in Britain" by a UK Prime Minister.

According to the 2021 census, there are nearly four million Muslims in England and Wales, and around 332,000 Arabs, most of whom live in the Greater London area.

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition. To read the original article click here.

Translated by Rose Chacko   

This article is taken from our Arabic sister publication, Al-Araby Al Jadeed and mirrors the source's original editorial guidelines and reporting policies. Any requests for correction or comment will be forwarded to the original authors and editors.

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