Category Archives: Advocacy

The Church of England’s Complicity in the Gaza Genocide

“Gaza today has become the moral compass of the world”, insisted the Reverend Dr. Munther Isaac in his 2023 Christmas sermon, entitled, “Christ in the Rubble.” After his sermon went viral, his words were subsequently quoted by UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed.

A short video introduction to the article – viewed 18k times in the first week.

Lamentably, many Christian leaders in the USA and Europe have stood by, silent and complicit, unwilling to criticise Israel for what is increasingly recognised as a genocidal campaign against the Palestinian people. 

This article will analyse the Church of England official statements about Gaza since 7th October 2023, together with criticisms, and provide an assessment of the Church’s moral integrity in its stance on Gaza.

Download the complete article – or continue to read the summary conclusions:

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Justice for Everyone, Injustice for No One: A Christian Perspective

In this short presentation, I will be reflecting on the life and teaching of Imam Ali al-Reza,[1] from a Christian perspective. This will not however, be an exhaustive or comprehensive analysis of Islamic and Christian ethical codes, but rather a comparison of some of the examples contained in the Rezavi Codes of Ethics and Selected Sayings of Imam Reza, with similar statements found in the teaching of Jesus. 

Given that you will likely already be familiar with the example and teaching of Imam Reza, I will elaborate more on the teaching of Jesus to illustrate similarities and differences, recognising that Imam Reza, living many centuries after the New Testament was written, may well have been influenced by it, consciously or otherwise. 

However, I am not a specialist in Islamic studies, or indeed of comparative religion. Nevertheless, I have helped organise, or have contributed to, several international conferences on Christian-Muslim dialogue, for example, with the World Islamic Call Society, Libya (2009), Fuller Theological Seminary, USA (2009); the League of Arab States in Qatar (2012) and Iraq (2013), the New Horizons conference, Iran (2014), and the Institute for Advanced Islamic Studies, Malaysia (2023). 

In my own engagement with Muslims, I am deeply indebted to the Syrian Christian scholar, Chawkat Moucarry. In his life and teaching, he promotes Christian-Muslim dialogue, as well as challenges many popular stereotypes held by Christians of Muslims. In a paper entitled, “A Plea for Dialogue Between Muslims and Christians[2], Moucarry defines dialogue in these terms:

“I take dialogue to mean a deliberate effort to engage genuinely and respectfully with each other; willingness to listen and understand; a readiness to learn and be challenged; a desire to relate to, communicate with, and be understood by one another. In Christian-Muslim dialogue, the focus is the Christian and Muslim faiths and their implications for individuals and communities in this life and the next.

For many centuries Western Christians have ignored or confronted the Muslim world. Ignoring Muslims is no longer an option in our “global village” where Muslims and Christians live next to each other. Some Christians seek to reach out to Muslims in confrontation, attacking Islam in a war of words. This approach is counterproductive as it usually inspires Muslims to become more radical in their beliefs, and often provokes an offensive reaction, too—Muslims attacking Christianity even more vehemently. A polemical engagement with Islam is also incompatible with “the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15), which is about love, reconciliation, and forgiveness… Even in a heated debate the Christian apologist must refrain from polemics, personal attacks, and derisive arguments about Muslims and their religion.”

Dialogue should be understood more broadly than verbal engagement. It is a way of life: an open attitude toward others, seeking to reach out and to welcome people, including those who are different or even antagonistic.” [3]

With that objective in mind, let us now compare the example and teachings of Imam Reza and Jesus Christ.

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Prepared for the Fifth Global Congress on Imam Reza, held in Mashhad, Iran, 13-14 May, 2023


[1] Rezavi Codes of Ethics: A Glance at Imam Reza’s Personal and Social Behavior (The Islamic Relations Office and Foreign Pilgrim’s Affairs of the Astan Quds Rezavi); Selected Sayings of Imam Reza by Mohammad Hakimi (Behnashr Co, Astan Quds Rezavi Publications)

[2] Chawkat Moucarry, “A Plea for Dialogue Between Muslims and Christians” (Fuller Theological Seminary)  https://fullerstudio.fuller.edu/a-plea-for-dialogue-between-muslims-and-christians/

[3] Ibid., pp. 2-3.

Archbishop Justin Welby Where is Your Moral Compass?

The Lambeth Witness Group of Campain, have produced a leaflet to protest the continued complicity of the Church of England with the pro-Israel lobby regarding the Gaza genocide.

As leader of the Church of England, your job involves standing up for human rights, peace, and justice. 

But, when it comes to Israel, you never go to the heart of the matter. 

We are glad you have called out the killing and starvation of Palestinians in Gaza, but you never denounce the root cause, which is Israel’s long-term ethnic cleansing programme. Nor do you call out our government’s enduring diplomatic and military support for Israel. 

As Israel starves, burns and bombs the civilian population of Gaza and the West Bank, you treat it as if it were acting out self-defence, on a higher moral plane from Hamas. 

We see no rationale for this. Some of Hamas’s actions on October 7 were war crimes, and need to be investigated. However, it is Israel’s ethnic cleansing project that drives the whole cycle of violence. 

As far back as 1937 the father of the Israeli nation David Ben Gurion wrote: “We must expel the Arabs and take their places”. And since 1948, Israel has killed, maimed, dispossessed and exiled Palestinians, occupying their land, destroying their homes and infrastructure, and stealing their natural resources. These are war crimes.

Too often, you have denounced British people who stand up for the Palestinians as anti-Semitic, fanning the flames of culture wars. And you have not backed up your assertions with hard evidence. 

And when Iran attacked Israel, you tweeted a prayer for Israel – but you didn’t denounce Israel’s provocative attack on an Iranian consulate, which is a war crime.

As head of the established Church, and with 26 bishops in the House of Lords, you can and should do better. It is time to hold Government to account. So please show moral leadership and demand that the British government immediately:

• Insist on a permanent ceasefire
• End all diplomatic, military and logistical support for Israel’s war 
• End all arms supply to Israel, a move that polls show would have overwhelming public support, and
• Renew funding for UNRWA, Gaza’s crucial provider of food and humanitarian aid that Israel has dishonestly sought to discredit.

Mardin Artuklu University: Courage Award

The 24th International Beth Al-Maqdis Academic Symposium was held at Mardin Atuklu University, Turkey, 18-20 April 2024. The conference theme was “Zionism and Academia: Pressures, Fears and Challenges”. Besides giving a presentation entitled, “A Biblical Refutation of Christian Zionism”, during the conference, I was also honoured to receive the Mardin Artuklu University Courage Award.

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European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine (ECCP)

As chair of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions(ICAHD-UK), I am pleased to represent them on the ECCP committee.

The ECCP is a network of 43 European organisations, NGOs, trade unions and solidarity groups from 18 European countries,  dedicated to the struggle of the Palestinian people for freedom, justice and equality.

Jerusalem Day Rally: Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

View my short presentation at the Jerusalem Day Rally held in Whitehall, London, here. The text is below.

What does the word Jeru-salem mean? It means “city of peace” In the Psalms we are told to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6). Why are we told to pray for the peace of the city of peace? Perhaps because God knew people would interpret the word “peace” in contradictory ways. That is why the prophet Jeremiah warned “‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.” (Jeremiah 6:14).

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Southampton Peace Rally for Gaza and Palestine

Do you remember the film Miss Congeniality staring Sandra Bullock who plays a police officer. There’s a scene in which she enters the Miss USA beauty pageant. Each contestant steps up to the microphone to answer the question, “What’s the most important thing our society needs?” They each smile and give the same cliched answer – “world peace“. All except Sandra Bullock who replies, “Harsher punishment for parole violators”. The crowd goes silent and Sandra Bullock realises they don’t share her enthusiasm for justice, so she adds, “And world peace” and the crowd goes wild.

Although the scene makes light of ‘world peace’, Sandra Bullock is making a point, “If we all believe in ‘world peace’, if we all want ‘world peace’ why, oh why, is it so elusive? Because peace begins, for exampole, by holding parole violators accountable. That is why the prophet Jeremiah warned “‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.” (Jeremiah 6:14). 

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Palestine and Global Peace

I wonder if you can remember the comedy film Miss Congeniality staring Sandra Bullock. There’s a scene in which she appears in  the Miss USA beauty pageant. Each contestant steps up to the microphone to answer the question, “What’s the most important thing our society needs?” They each smile and give the same cliched answer – “world peace”. All except Sandra Bullock who replies, “Harsher punishment for parole violators”. When the crowd goes silent and Sandra Bullock realises they don’t share her enthusiasm for justice, she adds, “And world peace” and then the crowd goes wild.

Although the humorous scene makes light of ‘world peace’, implicitly, it raises the question, “If we all believe in ‘world peace’, if we all want ‘world peace’ why, oh why, is it so elusive? I suggest the clue lies in Sandra Bullock’s unpopular reply, but lets leave that for now and come back to it later.

When we turn our attention from fiction to reality, and in particular to Gaza, we recognise peace is a serious, urgent, vital, not just need, but demand. There are people living and breathing in Gaza today who will be dead by tonight, or who will die tomorrow or on Thursday and on Friday.. In a very real sense, Palestine is the litmus test, or as Revd Dr Munther Isaac said this week, “Gaza is the moral compass” of the world order. If the international community cannot, or will not, apply international law and binding UN resolutions, and stop the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, if the highest court in the world, the ICJ will not hold Israel accountable for genocide, then there is no hope for peace anywhere else in the world. All we have is anarchy, the law of the jungle, the survival of the strongest. Ironically Sandra Bullock was right in Miss Congeniality. World peace begins by holding parole violators accountable because there will be no peace without justice.

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