Statement in Support of Palestinians

Council Members and Officers of the British Association for Islamic Studies (BRAIS) stand in solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza, East Jerusalem, and the West Bank, and Arabs with Israeli citizenship. Like so many others, we have witnessed the ongoing assault by Israeli security forces and right-wing settlers with deep concern and dismay. Despite the recently-declared ceasefire, attacks in Gaza, Jerusalem and elsewhere in the West Bank are continuing in the full light of international scrutiny and concern.

 In response to calls by Palestinian academic institutions, we recognise that no academic or intellectual stance is apolitical or non-political. Further, as a learned society focused on the academic study of Islam and Muslims, research conducted by our members has documented increasing Islamophobic attitudes against legitimate expressions of support for Palestinians in the education sector, including in Higher Education in the UK. In light of this, we consider it our responsibility to articulate our empathy for and solidarity with educationalists, academics and researchers of all faiths, ethnicities and nationalities, working towards a just peace based on: i) the recognition of the fundamental rights of Arab Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; ii) the end of illegal military occupation in territories recognised by international Law as occupied; iii) the end of the ongoing siege of Gaza. We note the important work of Human Rights Watch, BT’selem, Breaking the Silence, Jewish Voice for Peace, the Palestinian Human Rights Organisations Council, Friends of Palestine and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in drawing attention to the systematic and ad hoc persecution, discrimination and dehumanization of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and in Israel itself, as painstakingly documented by these rights organisations, and in violation of international law and human rights norms.

 As we take important steps to decolonise university curricula, including in Islamic Studies, we recognise that colonialism, ever egregious in its harms, is a present reality in many parts of the world, including in Palestine and Israel. Decolonisation is not only an intellectual project, but is connected with lived experiences of colonialism and warfare. We affirm our commitment to supporting, through our academic activities, the liberation struggles of Palestinians and other dispossessed communities around the world.

The Council of the British Association for Islamic Studies

Usaama al-Azami (University of Oxford)

Omar Anchassi (University of Edinburgh)

Fozia Bora (University of Leeds)

Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor (Coventry University)

Alyaa Ebbiary (SOAS)

Robert Gleave (University of Exeter)

Jon Hoover (University of Nottingham)

Hilary Kalmbach (University of Sussex)

Tom Lea (University of Edinburgh)

Sean McLoughlin (University of Leeds)

Shamim Miah (University of Huddersfield)

Shuruq Naguib (Lancaster University)

Ayman Shihadeh (SOAS)

Saeko Yazaki (University of Glasgow)