Fundamentalists one step closer to power

Lutfur Rahman, the politician who was three times barred by the Labour Party from its shortlist for the powerful elected mayoralty of Tower Hamlets, is today back on the list after a legal challenge.

Lutfur had been kept off the list amid deep concerns over four things:

* His links with the Islamic Forum of Europe, a group which wants to replace secular democratic government with Islamic government under sharia law.

* His track record as council leader, when large and increasing sums of public money were pumped into groups run by the IFE, when extremist literature was stocked in the council’s public libraries and when he put forward a plan to “Islamically brand” the area’s multiracial Brick Lane with “hijab arches.” He lost the leadership in May after this was exposed in a Channel 4 Dispatches programme which I presented.

* His links with several powerful local businessmen who are bankrolling his campaign.

* His recruitment of “stooge members” – people who would not otherwise have joined the Labour Party but were specifically recruited by Lutfur in order to provide a voting bank. I have personally spoken to and filmed several such members for my Channel 4 documentary on the IFE.

Lutfur’s legal challenge, which is being led by a solicitor linked to the banned pro-terrorist group al-Muhajiroun, has only increased the concern about him.

If selected, with the help of his stooge members, and then elected as mayor in October, he will be in sole and unchallengeable charge of a £1 billion budget.

This is a deeply worrying day for democracy in Britain.

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