On 22 April 2021, the UK Labour Muslim Network (LMN), an organization that seeks to promote British Muslim engagement with the Labour Party, hosted this year’s virtual edition of its annual Iftar meeting to celebrate the holiest month of the Islamic calendar. The event brought together over 150 Labour Party members, MPs, and Councillors. According to an announcement on the LMN website:
The event gives us a unique opportunity to hear from a range of speakers, both from our Labour movement and the British Muslim community. This annual event is our chance to reflect on the spirit and values that tie our communities together.
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The meeting was addressed via video by Labour leader Keir Starmer and London Mayor Sadiq Khan and featured speaking appearances by several other prominent Labour politicians, including MPs Azfal Khan and Yasmin Qureshi.
Among the panelists was also Zara Mohammed, who in January 2021 was named the first female Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain, one of the most influential Muslim organizations in the UK that usually acts in concert with the Global Muslim Brotherhood. From 2014–2017, Mohammed held several leading positions in the Federation of Student Islamic Societies, a national umbrella organization representing Islamic societies at universities throughout the UK and that has numerous ties to the country’s GMB network. In March 2021, the GIOR reported that British Conservative Ex-Defense Secretary Penny Mordaunt had been criticized by members of the British Home Office for meeting with Mohammed despite an existing “non-engagement” policy with the group.
The Labour Iftar event was also attended by Zaher Birawi, a prominent British pro-Hamas activist and long-time Director of the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC), designated by the Israeli government and described as “Hamas’s organizational branch in Europe.” In March 2021, the Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) reported that Birawi had participated in an online conference organized by the UK-based Friends of Al-Aqsa, which brought together numerous pro-Hamas and GMB activists. Prior GIOR reporting about the British and international Hamas support network has included:
- A December 2020 report about a virtual Palestinian advocacy conference that featured Hamas support groups and three US Congresswomen.
- A January 2021 report that the European Hamas support network had established a new front group.
- An April 2021 report that a Danish MP for the left-wing Red-Green Alliance had participated in a virtual conference hosted by the same Hamas support group.