A broad group of 15 UK faith leaders have come together to urge the UK government to take immediate action to deliver aid to civilians in besieged Aleppo.
The plea—from Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist and Sikh faith leaders—comes as humanitarian organisations warn that supplies of food and medicine are running out in East Aleppo.
The besieged area of the city has not received any deliveries of aid since August this year and medical staff in the city are reporting cases illnesses linked to malnutrition. The Syrian regime has repeatedly blocked the UN from delivering aid to the area. Now time is running out for the 250,000 people who live there, who lack even the most basic food and medical supplies.
On 10 November, as the last remaining UN food parcels were distributed in the city, the UN warned mass starvation was a real prospect if aid was not allowed in. The UK government has a range of options for breaking the deadlock. The statement calls for action from the government to deliver aid to those besieged in the city.
Harun Khan, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain said: “As faith leaders, we are all motivated by our respective faiths to help alleviate those suffering, and as my faith uses the comparable of the suffering of the world to that of one’s body, where if one part suffers, the rest of the body suffers, we cannot stand by and watch thousands on the brink of starvation and do nothing. We urge the UK government to take urgent action so that much needed aid can reach those in desperate need of it.”
The full text of the joint statement reads as follows:
Joint Statement Calling for the Urgent Delivery of Humanitarian Aid to Aleppo
We, UK faith leaders, jointly call on the UK Government to act to support the urgent delivery of aid to those besieged in Aleppo.
In eastern Aleppo, an estimated 250,000 people, including 100,000 children, have been cut off from food and medical supplies since August 2016. The UN warns that there will soon be no food left in the besieged part of the city.
This is an ancient city which has been home to people of many faiths, we pray for all those still in the city and call for action to preserve the lives of the people of Aleppo.
The situation is now desperate, yet the UN is still being prevented from delivering desperately needed aid to the besieged civilians. It seems a very real possibility that the world could stand by whilst 250,000 people are facing starvation.
As faith leaders we bear witness to the suffering of all those in the city of Aleppo.We call on the UK government to take action at an international level, including in the UN General Assembly, and to provide practical support to facilitate the delivery of aid to civilians in the city.
The UK can lead the way in alleviating the terrible suffering of the people of Aleppo, we pray that action is taken to come to their aid.
• Muslim Council of Britain, Harun Khan, Secretary General.
• Lewisham Islamic Centre, Imam Shakeel Begg.
• Mohammed Kozbar, Director of Finsbury Park Mosque.
• Baptist Union of Great Britain, The Revd Lynn Green, General Secretary.
• Church of Scotland, The Rev Dr Richard Frazer, Convener of the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland
• Methodist Church, Revd Dr Roger Walton, President of the Methodist Conference and Rachel Lampard, Vice President of the Methodist Conference.
• United Reformed Church, The Revd John Proctor, General Secretary.
• Hindu Council UK, Sanjay Jagatia, Director.
• Liberal Judaism, Rabbi Danny Rich, Chief Executive.
• Reform Judaism, Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Senior Rabbi.
• Dayan Ivan Binstock, Dayan of the London Beth Din.
• Sikh Council UK, Mr Gurmel Singh, Secretary General.
• Gaia House Buddhist Meditation Retreat Centre, Rob Burbea.
• Satipanya Buddhist Trust, Bhante Bodhidhamma, Spiritual Director.