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Tony Benn Obituary

Tony Benn1

Tony Benn Obituary

The passing of Tony Benn on the 14th March 2014 is a sad occasion for many. A man whose tenacity and enduring courage became an inspiration for so many is a reminder to us of the scarcity of committed advocates for justice in our world. He reminds us of what we know about Mut’im ibn Adiyy, a man from the unbelievers with whom the Prophet Muhammad (upon him abundant peace) enacted the Hilf al-Fudul, a treaty intent on securing the rights of all in the town of Makkah; a man who was instrumental in ending the boycott against the Prophet and his companions; and a man who the Prophet remembered in good terms after his death: ‘If Mut’im was alive today and asked me to ransom these prisoners of war, I would do it just for him’. It is in this spirit of cooperation and human good will, of conscience to do and say the right thing, that we remember Mr Benn. He was a tireless campaigner for peace and social justice and an unwavering advocate for the rights of the disenfranchised. Tony Benn opposed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and led the Stop the War Coalition as President from 2003 until his death. He famously spoke at the Stop The War demonstration in 2003 as the Western powers were beating drums for war. He is remembered by humanitarians, Muslims and non-Muslims for his defiant stance when the BBC refused to broadcast the Disasters Emergency Fund appeal for Gaza during the Cast Lead bombing by Israel in 2009. He remained ardent until the end in his commitment to fight against war and militarism, and it is this admirable voice of conscience that we remember. The Western world has had many great champions for peace and justice in our world. As we remember Edmund Dene Morel who set up his Congo Relief Association exactly 110 years ago this month we remember Tony Benn now in the same month. We at the Hittin Institute commend him for spending his life tirelessly campaigning against injustice and send our condolences to his family and friends.