Keir Starmer rumbled after turning up to mosque uninvited and making Imam cry

Lisa Nandy grilled on Keir Starmer’s position on Israel

Sir Keir Starmer’s recent visit to an Islamic centre in Wales has backfired after the group said publicly that the Labour leader had misrepresented the nature of the visit.

Three days ago, Sir Keir posted photos from the South Wales Islamic Centre (SWIC), writing he had been “grateful to hear” from the Muslim community, and that he had “repeated our calls for all hostages to be released, more humanitarian aid to enter Gaza, for the water and power to be switched back on, and a renewed focus on the two-state solution”.

The SWIC has now come out and apologised “for the hurt and confusion” caused by hosting the Labour leader, and expressed “dismay” about his visit claims.

In a social media post, the SWIC said: “We wish to stress Keir Starmer’s social media post and images gravely misrepresented our congregants and the nature of the visit.

“We affirm, unequivocally, the need for a free Palestine. We implore all those with political authority to uphold international law, and the end to the occupation of Palestine.”

READ MORE: Keir Starmer faces crisis as 23 Labour councillors resign over Israel comments

Reports also claim the centre’s Imam “didn’t invite him or even know who he was”.

The Imam also reportedly cried when explaining to a journalist that he was “not aware of what Keir Starmer had said in support of genocide and war crimes”.

The SWIC said: “He cried as he explained that he would never betray Palestinians by associating or collaborating in the propaganda of anyone who supports war crimes and genocide against them.”

A separate statement from the SWIC claimed the event was initially set to happen with “local representatives… and the knowledge of Keir Starmer’s attendance was given at short notice”.

They added: “While our intention was to raise the issue of suffering of Palestinians, regrettably the outcome has put the South Wales Islamic Centre and the wider Muslim community into disrepute.”

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They slammed Sir Keir’s representation of the discussions he had at the centre, saying they are dismayed.

They said: “We wish to stress Keir Starmer’s social media post and images gravely misrepresented our congregants and the nature of the visit.”

The Labour Party has been contacted for comment.

The row comes as the latest headache for the Labour leadership since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war on October 7.

Sir Keir was immediately keen to demonstrate his support for Israel, and highlight the stark contrast between himself and his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn, whose “friendship” with Hamas turned off many traditional Labour voters.

Speaking on LBC during Labour’s party conference, Sir Keir appeared to endorse Israel’s right to respond to the attack by cutting off water and power to the Gaza Strip.

The comments split the Labour Party, with many Muslim councillors and members threatening to revolt over the position.

Eight Labour councillors in Oxford quit the party over his comments, as well as 15 Labour officers in Scotland.

In total, 23 councillors have now resigned from the party.

Last night the Times reported that Labour’s Muslim MPs and peers were locked in crisis talks with Sir Keir and Angela Rayner to discuss the backlash to the party’s position on Gaza.

A source said: “They don’t want words but action… the relationship is becoming terminal.”

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