Lancashire Town Unites to fly Palestinian flag over the Town Hall with Palestinian Ambassador

Nelson Town Hall - Lancashire Town Unites to fly Palestinian flag over the Town Hall with Palestinian Ambassador Husam Zomlot

Nelson flies the Palestinian flag – after the disturbing assassination of Shireen 

A small Lancashire town achieved the improbable last week by raising the Palestinian flag above the town hall for the first time in Pendle’s history.

In a landmark event among the attendees was the Palestinian ambassador to the United Kingdom Husam Zomlot.

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The leader of Pendle council Nadeem Ahmed led a united ceremony which was attended by the local councillors and hundreds from the local community.

He also hosted the Palestinian ambassador Husam Zomlot who made a special journey from London to attend the event.

He arrived in spectacular fashion with a full delegation and security, to be greeted and cheered by the local community who were surprised yet overjoyed by his attendance.

God loves a trier

It began with an opportunistic invitation by Rehan Hanif, a local entrepreneur, who reached out to the Palestinian Ambassador on Facebook, a few days before the event.

To his shock and delight, Mr Zomlot replied and made immediate arrangements to travel down to join the historic ceremony.

This made an already historical event that bit more glamourous for the local organisers. Who wanted to show their support for the oppression of the Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank.

The event was supported in unison by labour and Tory members. Local councillor Mohammed Aslam posted the event on his Facebook. It attracted a lot of local attention and local residents of Nelson turned up to show their support. Including the Imam of Nelson Mosque and all of the local Conservative and Labour councillors.

Council Nadeem Ahmed said:

“As Leader of Pendle Council I attended the event to raise the Palestinian flag above the Town Hall for the first time in Pendle’s history. The Ambassador of Palestine was welcomed to Pendle for this historic and special occasion. This followed a Council Motion which was unanimously supported by all councillors and I am grateful to all political parties for their full support. A message of peace and solidarity was the key message.”

‘Message of solidarity to the Palestinians’ 

Mohammed Iqbal MBE said: 

“Following my emergency motion which was passed at council last week I’m delighted that His Worship the Mayor of Pendle Yasser Iqbal will raise the Palestinian flag above Nelson Town Hall on Friday 27 May at 3.30 pm. It would send a message of solidarity to the Palestinians if people could attend this important event.”

They passed the motion in solidarity with Palestine and specifically to push the UK government to investigate the death of Palestinian journalist Shireen.

Nelson's local residents of Nelson turned up to show their support
local residents of Nelson turned up to show their support for Palestine

It was a historic moment because this is only the second council after Sheffield had passed such a motion in the UK.

The local and national councils are notoriously dominated by the powerful lobby group ‘Friends of Israel’ who normally block and resist any such notions.

The Local conservative MP Andrew Stevenson was unable to attend the event and in rather unusual circumstances the local newspapers: The Lancashire Evening telegraph and The Nelson Leader did not carry any coverage of the event. 

‘Assassination of Shireen and disrespect of her funeral’ 

On the assassination of famed journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, Leader of Pendle Labour Group, Mohammed Iqbal called the scenes ‘disturbing.’ 

He says: “Following the disturbing scenes in Palestine of the assassination of prominent journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and total disrespect of her funeral by Israeli government forces, I wrote to the Leader of Pendle, Cllr Nadeem Ahmed council to consider flying the Palestinian flag above council building as a mark of our solidarity with the Palestinians.”

Who was Shireen Abu Akleh? – Executed during an Israeli raid

The death of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh sent shockwaves across the Middle East and Israel and around the world. The Al Jazeera reporter was ‘shot in the head’ on 11 May 2022. Falling victim to the same conflict between Israelis and Palestinians that she had so passionately chronicled. She was killed by Israeli soldiers who conducted a raid on the West Bank town of Jenin.

shireen abu akleh tribute shireen abu akleh twitter video israel palestine journalist
Shireen Abu Akleh tribute – the fearless journalist who documented Israel’s persecution of Palestinians

In life, Abu Akleh was a ‘voice of Palestine’ she was more than a journalist, for many ordinary Palestinians she was a symbol. 

Abu Akleh was a 51-year-old Jerusalem-born Palestinian American. She had become a regular fixture in homes across the Arab world and known globally through her work for Al Jazeera. “She was definitely the voice of Palestine in every Arab home,” one international journalist said in an interview.

Scenes from her funeral show her coffin being carried through the streets whilst Israeli officials pushed and shoved those carrying Abu Akleh’s casket. The scenes were devastating. 

She never married and leaves behind no children. Friends and colleagues remarked she devoted her life to journalism and Palestine. 

Shireen Abu Akleh tribute- ‘trailblazer who gave voice to Palestinians’

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