Ian Austin MP Apology to Friends of Al-Aqsa


Friends of Al-Aqsa welcomes the unreserved apology of Labour MP for Dudley North, Ian Austin, over allegations he made suggesting FOA were Holocaust deniers.

In an article published on the Labour Uncut Website in 2011, (“When bigotry comes disguised as compassion, Labour must recognise it and root it out”) Ian Austin MP stated that FOA had referred to the ‘so called holocaust’. He was in fact referring to materials published in the early 1990’s, years before FOA was established. Despite requests made by FOA for the article to be removed or corrected, no action was taken and FOA were forced to seek a legal route to remove these false and damaging allegations.

The apology is the culmination of those legal proceedings. Ian Austin now admits the false allegation, stating: ‘On 16 March 2011 an article I had written (“When bigotry comes disguised as compassion, Labour must recognise it and root it out”) was published on Labour Uncut. In the article, I stated that Friends of Al’Aqsa (FOA) had referred to the “so-called Holocaust”. In fact, this was an error and was untrue. The publication in which this phrase was used was written by someone else, and had nothing to do with FOA. The article had the effect of wrongly labelling FOA as Holocaust deniers and I apologise unreservedly for making this allegation.’ Damages are still being negotiated.

Ismail Patel, Chair of Friends of Al-Aqsa stated, “We welcome Ian Austin’s apology which rightfully sets the record straight. FOA has always reiterated the tragedy of the holocaust in numerous publications and such false allegations are not only unjust but completely unfounded. It is a tragedy that such a serious allegation was levelled against FOA. These allegations, wherever made, are clearly intended to undermine our organisation and negatively impact our work and public image.

FOA has now been working for 15 years defending the Palestinian cause and campaigning for Palestinian freedom. Our work is aimed at bringing peace for all people in the region and false accusations like this must be challenged and routed out in order to allow dialogue and discussion on the important issues of freedom and safety for Palestinians and Israelis. FOA plans to continue with its work, and we mark this apology as a victory for all of those seeking dialogue as a first step towards peace in the region.”

For further comments, please contact Shamiul Joarder:

Mobile: 07813 88 20 26

Email: [email protected]

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