Lutfur Rahman may be looking for work now; I suggest he become the poster child for what is wrong with contemporary Britain. Today Islamic supremacists like Rahman — and, at the other end of the spectrum, the participants in Muslim rape gangs — are able to get away with almost everything, because those who should be stopping them are desperately afraid of charges of “racism” and “Islamophobia.” They’re more afraid of those charges than they are of the destruction and damage that these Islamic supremacists leave in their wake. It is good that Lutfur Rahman has been barred from standing for office again, but unless there is a massive change in the British political culture, and this cowardice and appeasement set aside, there will be many more Lutfur Rahmans.
“Lutfur Rahman played the Islamophobia card to silence his critics. And too many on the left fell for it,” by James Bloodworth, Independent, April 23, 2015:
Lutfur Rahman was “more Labour than many in Labour”. He was a “democratic success story” whose opponents were engaged in an “Islamophobic campaign of lies”.
I challenge you to come up with a selection of sillier statements about the soon-to-be-former-Mayor of Tower Hamlets.
An election court today found that Rahman had “driven a coach and horses” through local authority law and “engaged in corrupt and illegal practices” to win elections. According to the Court, which ruled on a case brought against the Mayor for ballot-rigging, intimidation and racism in the electoral campaign of 2014, rather than being a “democratic success story”, Rahman trashed the electoral process in a “ruthless and dishonest manner”. To make matters worse the Mayor silenced critics using spurious accusations of Islamophobia and racism.
Those of us who have lived in Lutfur Rahman’s Tower Hamlets in recent years had a fair idea that something wasn’t right. An atmosphere of menace and intimidation prevailed at council meetings and a cult of personality was thrown up around Rahman himself, with posters carrying the Mayor’s face (and little else) increasingly ubiquitous in the borough. Extremist preachers were invited to speak in council chambers and council grants were directed away from secular organisations in favour of groups which mainly served the Bangladeshi and Muslim communities.
As for fighting elections, political arguments were replaced with well-orchestrated smear campaigns; the accusation of racism was reduced from a grave and serious charge to a tactic used to get Rahman elected. Labour mayoral candidate John Biggs was publicly branded a racist for having the temerity to accuse Rahman of the things he has today been found guilty of. Meanwhile, Rahman’s Labour rival Helal Abbas was falsely branded a “wife beater” in a mysterious newspaper which appeared on the doorsteps of every property in Tower Hamlets in 2010.
The story of Lutfur Rahman might be a parable for our times. Despite standing for election on a divisive communalist ticket and being backed by the far-right Islamist Forum of Europe (IFE), support on the far-left for Britain’s first Muslim Mayor was remarkably strong. Some even claimed that Lutfur Rahman was a socialist, despite his support base being made up of George Galloway’s Respect party, wealthy local restaurateurs and the IFE. Hardly the Socialist International, is it?
What many residents of Tower Hamlets strongly suspected was today confirmed in the election court. The Court ruled that the mayoral election of 2014 was void and that Rahman was banned from standing for office again.
Yet one can already hear the predictable accusations of an establishment “stitch up” coming from defenders of Rahman on the left. Many purveyors of ostensibly left-wing politics appear willing to ignore the toxicity engulfing Rahman simply because he professes to be a devout Muslim….