The flame of free speech in Britain is flickering, but still burning.
Standards Board for England rejects Tablighi Jamaat complaint
Local authority watchdog, the Standards Board for England, has rejected an official complaint by Olympics mega-mosque promoters Tablighi Jamaat (TJ) against Cllr Alan Craig, leader of the Christian Peoples Alliance group on Newham Council.
Board officers decided that TJ’s allegations against Cllr Craig did not even warrant investigation. They ruled that Cllr Craig’s statements about TJ and the proposed Olympics mega-mosque were most likely to be lawful and protected by the freedom of expression articles of the Human Rights Act.
“Referring a councillor to the Standards Board is a very serious matter; I’m sorry Tablighi Jamaat have gone down this road to intimidate and close down democratic discussion,” said Cllr Craig, who has been leading local opposition to the mega-mosque.
“They are an ambitious and powerful global Islamic sect but this small-minded action has backfired on them,” he continued. “I’m glad the Standard Board has recognised my opposition to this enormous landmark mosque is legitimate.”
TJ complained that Cllr Craig’s statements had (1) failed to comply with equality laws; (2) failed to treat others with respect; (3) prevented council officers from acting in an unbiased fashion; and (4) brought his office into disrepute. The Standards Board considered that none of these allegations warranted referral to an ethical standards officer for investigation.
“Tablighi Jamaat are proposing a huge project which will directly impact all of east London,” said Alan Craig. “If built, it will be their international headquarters. Therefore they should drop their secrecy, their silence and their attempts to intimidate.
“They should instead enter into public debate so that we can discuss both their organisation and their project with them.
“What have they got to hide?”