22nd October 2015
The Muslim Council of Britain today appealed for thousands more people to join a 24-hour hunger strike in support of the last British detainee in Guantanamo.
Shaker Aamer is expected to be released on Sunday 25th October, or shortly afterwards, after 14 years of incarceration without evidence, charge or trial. And as the countdown to the day of his long awaited freedom begins, campaigners are stepping up the pressure on the Obama administration to ensure there are no last minute delays.
Shaker was told on 25th September that he will be released and returned to his family in the UK. The US Congress must give 30 days’ notice before any prisoner can be freed from Guantánamo and in the meantime he has embarked on a hunger strike protesting his constant and ongoing abuse. He fears that due to his weakened state he won’t live to see his family again.
For this reason, the Fast For Shaker campaign was launched earlier this month with celebrities, MPs from across the political divide, Muslim leaders and members of the public pledging to fast for at least 24 hours. The campaign is designed to show solidarity with Shaker, to try to encourage him to allow campaigners to take over his own hunger strike and to put pressure on the US authorities to honour their commitment to release him.
Dr Shuja Shafi, Secretary General of the MCB and Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, Assistant Secretary General, have pledged to fast on Sunday 25th and are urging Muslims throughout Britain and across the world to join them.
Dr Shuja Shafi said: “I’d like to see at least 5,000 British Muslims fasting in support of Shaker to highlight the fact that this Saturday will be his 5,000th day in Guantanamo. That’s less than 3% of the total Muslim population in England and Wales so I believe it can easily be achieved. “This is a moment when we should all stand together, in the name of humanity, against an issue of such enormous injustice that it transcends all faiths, beliefs and cultures. Fasting is an ideal gesture to reflect the global hunger for an end to the horrors endured by one of our brothers for 14 years.”
The MCB is urging as many people as possible to pledge to fast for Shaker until his release and to join campaigners at two vigils in London this week. Visit the Fast For Shaker web site to join the campaign.
On Saturday 24th October, the Save Shaker Aamer and We Stand With Shaker campaigns are holding a vigil for Shaker outside 10 Downing Street from 2-4pm. Those fasting include Suliman Gani, teacher, broadcaster and family friend, as well as Sir Iqbal Sacranie OBE.
Andy Worthington, co-director of the We Stand With Shaker campaign, which launched Fast For Shaker last week, said: “Time has run out for the dark forces that have kept Shaker imprisoned for eight years since he was first told the US no longer wanted to hold him.
“We hope those in power have got the message and that Shaker will be back in the UK on Sunday. We look forward to welcoming him home, and if he is not back by Sunday, MPs, campaigners and celebrities stand ready to make even more noise than we have to date.”
For further information about the Fast For Shaker campaign, please contact:
Joanne MacInnes on 07867 553580 or [email protected]
Andy Worthington on 020 8691 9316 or [email protected][Ends]
Notes to Editors:
The Muslim Council of Britain is the UK’s largest Muslim umbrella body with over 500 affiliated national, regional and local organisations, mosques, charities and schools.
For further information please contact:
The Muslim Council of Britain
PO Box 57330
Tel: 0845 26 26 786
Fax: 0207 247 7079
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