Innocent Civilians

The Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain Sir Iqbal Sacranie:

“But there remained a niggling ambiguity, after the press conference, about whether the imams equally condemned British Muslims who mount suicide attacks in Israel or Iraq. After a number of questions, Sir Iqbal issues the clarification that seemed to have been missing before: “The position as far as the council is concerned in terms of any innocents wherever they are in any part of the world – there can never, ever be justification of killing civilians, full stop.”

Some Muslims have suggested that Israeli adults can be considered combatants as they may be on a military reserve list. Is he prepared to distance himself from this view? “Israeli innocent civilians are in exactly the same category as innocent Palestinians, as innocent Britishers. They are innocent civilians,” he says, without hesitation”

The Chief Rabbi, Dr Jonathan Sacks in 2002:

“I regard the current situation as nothing less than tragic,” he tells the Guardian in an exclusive interview. “It is forcing Israel into postures that are incompatible in the long run with our deepest ideals.”

He goes on to speak of being “profoundly shocked” at the recent reports of smiling Israeli servicemen posing for a photograph with the corpse of a slain Palestinian. “There is no question that this kind of prolonged conflict, together with the absence of hope, generates hatreds and insensitivities that in the long run are corrupting to a culture.”

He also admits that in 1967 he was “convinced that Israel had to give back all the [newly-gained] land for the sake of peace” – and he does not renounce that view now.