Oh dear. It was just two weeks ago that Labour’s Naz Shah found herself in trouble for attending a pro-Palestinian rally in Bradford at which a speaker made antisemitic remarks in Arabic. Now the shadow minister for community cohesion appears to be again tempting fate after a scheduled appearance next month at a charity dinner alongside fellow frontbencher Imran Hussain MP.
A poster circulated for the ‘Free Gaza, Free Palestine’ fundraiser at the Bradford Hotel on July 3, showed smiling images of the two MPs alongside Imam Asim Hussain for the £25 a head three-course dinner. Unfortunately, a quick check of the latter’s 187,000 follower strong Facebook page makes the Bradford Imam’s views clear, with ‘the media’ being ‘controlled by certain lobbys’ and that ‘Arabic is one of the Semitic languages therefore based on this definition what the Jews and the west say about Palestinian Arabs is “anti-Semitic.”’
Another Facebook post called Mumtaz Qadri a ‘lion’ for assassinating the Pakistani politician Salman Taseer – ‘a true servant of Allah’ as ‘what he did [was] in honour of the Prophet.’ Other statuses ask ‘When will the UN take the Israeli regime to trial for their war crimes like they did with the Nazis and Bosnian war lords’ while in his online talks he has called Gaza ‘the largest concentration camp in the world,’ claimed ‘Zionism does not represent the true teachings of Judaism’ and raised the spectre of Muslims ‘losing’ al-Aqsa – an incendiary claim given its status as one of the holiest Muslim sites.
Back in 2019, Hussain resigned from his position at the Al-Hikam Institute after being accused of ‘gross misconduct’ and ‘serious violations of morality.’ But he since appears to have resumed contact with the Institute, appearing in YouTube videos using its name and promoting last month’s controversial pro-Palestine convoy which saw antisemitic abuse hurled out of car windows on the Finchley road.
Eager to prevent the spokesman for community cohesion from making another error, Mr S emailed both Naz Shah and Imran Hussain but neither chose to send a comment. Curiously enough, just three hours after Steerpike’s deadline, the Imam was removed as a speaker – quelle surprise.
Still, in fairness to Shah, with all the gifts she’s giving the Tories, there must be few better speakers to promote a charity dinner.
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