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Jewish MP accused of abusing immunity to condemn Muslim group

19-12-2003

London, IRNA – A leading pro-Zionist MP has been accused of abusing parliamentary privilege to claim that the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), a leading organiser of this year’s anti-war protests, supports terrorism.

In a speech Thursday evening in the House of Common, which is protected from libel proceedings, Labour MP Louise Ellman claimed that the leaders of MAB incite racial hatred against British Jews.

She singled out Palestinian academic, Azzam Tamimi, who acts as the group’s spokesman, and called on the British government to act against what she called “mounting anti-semetism.”

In response, Tamami accused Ellman, who is Jewish, of “abusing parliament” and challenged her to repeat her remarks outside the House of Commons, where she would not be immune from prosecution.

"I challenge her to say these things outside parliament and I will take her to court," he said. "She is abusing parliament, the British system," he was quoted saying by the Guardian newspaper Friday.

MAB has come to prominence over the past 12 months by helping to organise the biggest peace demonstrations ever seen in London in protest against the Iraq war and in expressing solidarity with the Palestinian people.

In her speech made in an adjournment debate to mark parliament’s recess for Christmas, Ellman said that all key leaders in MAB were “connected to the terrorist organisation, Hamas.”

“Messages put out by this association and other Islamist groups, together with the far right, the traditional anti-semites, incite growing violence against Jews in the UK," she claimed.

Closing the debate, the deputy leader of the House of Commons, Phil Woolas, caused further controversy when speaking for the government he said that her speech was “the most important of the afternoon.”

“The Government believe that to equate anti-Zionism and attitudes to a particular Israeli Government with anti-semitism is both erroneous and dangerous,” he said.

But the deputy leader, speaking for the government, went on to say that Ellman was right to draw attention to “the nature of the extremists.”

“The tolerance that is a great characteristic of our country may be a bit naive. I think the Government will respond in that vein to my hon. Friend's comments,” he suggested.
HC
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