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Tue 5 Aug 2014 02:11 PM

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British senior Muslim minister resigns over UK's Gaza policy

Sayeeda Warsi said London's "approach and language during the current crisis in Gaza is morally indefensible"

British senior Muslim minister resigns over UK's Gaza policy
Sayeeda Warsi. (Getty Images)

Sayeeda Warsi, a senior
minister in Britain's Foreign Office, resigned on Tuesday, accusing Prime
Minister David Cameron's government of taking a "morally
indefensible" approach to the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

While the British government has repeatedly called
for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, Cameron has come under criticism from
political opponents for what they say has been his reluctance to condemn
Israel's actions in stronger terms.

Warsi announced her decision as Israel pulled its
ground forces out of the Gaza Strip and started a 72-hour ceasefire with Hamas
mediated by Egypt as a first step towards negotiations on a more enduring end
to the month-old war.

Her resignation is embarrassing for Cameron, who
has been accused of filling his government with too many middle-class white
males. Warsi was not a full cabinet member but had the right to attend and
played an important role in mediating between the government and Britain's
Muslim community.

Warsi, a baroness who sits in Britain's upper house
of parliament, in 2010 became Britain's first Muslim to serve in cabinet but
was later demoted to be a senior minister of state at the Foreign Office and a
minister for faith and communities.

She announced her resignation on Twitter,
publishing a copy of a letter she had sent Cameron giving the reasons for her
decision.

"Our approach and language during the current
crisis in Gaza is morally indefensible, is not in Britain's national interest
and will have a long term detrimental impact on our reputation internationally
and domestically," Warsi, 43, said.

Britain's response to the events in Gaza was one of
the factors behind the radicalisation of British Muslims, she said, citing
early evidence from the Home Office. That could have consequences for years to
come, she said.

Cameron, who is holidaying in Portugal with his
family, said in a statement he regretted Warsi's decision to step down and
thanked her for her "excellent" work.

"Our policy has always been consistently clear
- the situation in Gaza is intolerable and we've urged both sides to agree to
an immediate and unconditional ceasefire," he said via his spokesman.

Warsi voiced her support for the people of Gaza in
several comments on Twitter over the last month, saying the Palestinians needed
a "viable and secure" state. She had called for the killing of
civilians to stop.

Gaza officials say the war has killed 1,865
Palestinians, most of them civilians. Israel says 64 of its soldiers and three
civilians have been killed since fighting began on July 8, after a surge in
Palestinian rocket launches.

Speaking in an interview with the Huffington Post
after the announcement, Warsi said she "couldn't sit silently by as the
Israeli military committed acts that have been described by (UN
Secretary-General) Ban Ki-moon as 'moral outrages' and 'criminal acts'".

In her role as a foreign office minister, Warsi
held specific responsibility for government policy on Afghanistan, Pakistan and
Bangladesh. Born in northern England, she is the daughter of Pakistani
immigrants to Britain and speaks fluent Urdu, Punjabi and Gujarati.

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Rashid 6 years ago

Sayeeda Warsi you made us proud ! ....I am glad someone stood up with the people of Gaza !

fatina 6 years ago

brave woman

nadeem 6 years ago

Great Job Mrs. Warsi

Patrick 6 years ago

Well done shame the rest of the British government is being so spineless at present!

Amer 6 years ago

We need more Muslim leaders like her. Well done Sayeeda. God will reward you InshaAllah.

gordon 6 years ago

Glad to see we have someone who has ethical standards and will stand up for what is right and step down if something is wrong.


Oh wait is that not the Baroness Warsi that was involved in the scandal where she was claiming expenses for accomodation while staying for free at a friends house?

Was on a KSA paid trip to Saudi which is a conflict of interest?

She had been talking about resigning long before the Gaza crisis.

So it is strange that the day she resigns is the same day that the UK working with the UN, USA and Egypt to arrange a ceasefire appeared to be working.

However if you read the resignation letter she has an equal weight about her unhappiness with her colleagues and the recent ministirial reshuffle.

She has muddled her resignation with the Gaza issue and is very opportunistic. To quote a ministerial colleague

"‘Self-indulgent, arrogant, hypocritical, and now a non-entity. She jumped before Dave pushed her after the election.’

Mohamed 6 years ago

Well said Gordon ))) Even while people are dying these politicians play with us & use blood of poor people to look clean (((( Shameful (((( When Islam & politics will be separated???, i don't know ((((( Don't know what will happen in Britain in the near future (((( Why no one in the world is taking action against ISIS those crazy neo-paleo look-alike humans who wants to bring back humanity 5000 years behind to dark ages (((((

Chalky6766 6 years ago

Ah! So she's a Muslim leader now is she, oh I see well I guess her using this as perfect timing to leave as a cover for her own incompetence is rather amusing. The cabinet had a reshuffle and this selfish woman used Gazza as an excuse to create a diversion as she was rightly overlooked. Please stop referring to her as some kind of political martyr you show crass ignorance in doing so. UK politics is not run to religion rules and NO the UK does not need more religious leaders like her. Why don't you look into her expenses fiddling, oh this brave Muslim leader. Yes we need a voice of clarity and action within the UK government ref Gazza and it's continued blind support of Israel but just NOT her.

Omar 6 years ago

With regard to your highlight that Baroness Warsi was on a paid trip to KSA being a conflict of interest, you may not be aware that Israeli / Isreali lobby funded trips for UK MP's to Israel exceed all trips by UK MP's to the EU.

I am not in any way defending Baroness Warsi, but let's put things in proper perspective.