Muslim community leader defends decision to boycott meeting with Israeli ambassador

BOYCOTT: Zulfi Karim, secretary of Bradford Council for Mosques, who refused to attend a meeting with the Israeli ambassador

BOYCOTT: Zulfi Karim, secretary of Bradford Council for Mosques, who refused to attend a meeting with the Israeli ambassador

First published in News
Last updated
Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , T&A Reporter

A MUSLIM community leader has revealed his reasons for boycotting a Bradford meeting with Israeli Ambassador Daniel Taub earlier this week, which ended up being plunged into controversy.

Secretary of Bradford Council of Mosques, Zulfi Karim, said he had been invited to the community meeting at Bradford's Synagogue but decided not to attend in protest at Israel's actions in Gaza.

But he did "gatecrash" a meeting between Mr Taub and Bradford Council's political leaders where he handed over a letter expressing his views which the ambassador agreed to present to the Israeli Government.

Mr Karim said his decision to stay away from the meeting was vindicated by Mr Taub's actions in tweeting photographs of himself with his Israeli passport and a flag at recognisable city locations.

He also expressed a determination that the relationships between Bradford's Jewish, Muslim and indigenous communities should not be affected by the words and actions of either George Galloway, who recently spoke of Bradford as an 'Israel free zone' or Mr Taub, whose response he described as "childish".

Mr Karim said: "I have no issue with the Jewish community, we have been working in harmony. I didn't turn up because I didn't think the ambassador needed to be here. That doesn't mean I don't work on inter-community relations.

"I handed over a protest letter to the ambassador himself. I gatecrashed a meeting he had at the City Hall. I put my protest across to the ambassador saying that really what he was doing was a stunt and not welcomed.

"He accepted it and said he would be going to Israel the next day and I asked that he share it with the Government.

"He said he would and respond back, though I have not heard from him yet.

"I don't want the relationship between the Jewish, Muslim and indigenous communities to be affected by one man's comments and another man's visit.

"My position in boycotting the meeting was absolutely right."

The photographs of the Israeli flag and passport in Bradford "stunt" but one which was "provoking everyone who stands for humanity", Mr Karim said.

Those actions suggested the purpose of the visit was not dialogue, he said, adding: "If someone is not coming for dialogue, why is he here?

"He has shown that Israelis can come to Bradford but it is tit for tat and I would have expected more from someone of his stature."

During his visit, Mr Taub said: "I am here because I was invited to come by the people of Bradford, who sent a clear message that George Galloway does not represent them.

"I don't believe George Galloway is the real voice of Bradford, there is a long history of co-operation between Bradford and Israel."

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree