Two weeks after the extremist-backed politician, Lutfur Rahman, became mayor of Tower Hamlets, his council has placed CDs of sermons by an extremist Islamic preacher in its Town Hall.
The preacher, Abdur Raheem Green, has stated that “Islam is not compatible with democracy.” He also says that a husband has the right to administer “some type of physical force… a very light beating” to his wife, to prevent her from committing “evil.” There is, of course, a considerable irony here. You may remember that Lutfur won the mayoralty with the help of smear literature falsely claiming that his Labour opponent was… a wife-beater.
The CDs are being handed out to council workers and visitors as part of an official council-sanctioned display mounted in the Town Hall reception area from last week by an organisation called One Reason. Two councillors have been given them and have passed them to me.
One Reason’s website includes a link allowing you to order the Green CD and a clip of one of Green’s sermons. The YouTube link from One Reason’s homepage connects to the YouTube channel of an organisation called iERA, whose advisers include
– Bilal Philips, described by the US an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the 1993 al-Qaeda attack on the World Trade Center;
– Zakir Naik, banned from the UK for saying that “every Muslim should be a terrorist;”
– Haitham al-Haddad, who believes that music is a “prohibited and fake message of love and peace;” and
– Hamza Andreas Tzortzis, another man with extremist connections.
Several of these people have also preached at the hardline East London Mosque, the chaps whose backing for Lutfur has proved so important in his political career.
As I showed in August, iERA successfully duped the Guardian newspaper into reporting, on the basis of its research, that 75% of people believed Muslims had made a negative contribution to British society (the actual figure was less than half that.) iERA’s agenda, there as elsewhere, is to foster distrust, division and suspicion between communities in much the same way as the BNP.
In a piece I think even he may come to be embarrassed by, another Guardian writer, Dave Hill, today continues his inexplicable one-man effort to whitewash Rahman. Lutfur will, we learn, “reach out to every community” and “lead by example.” He is, we’re told, a “first-class chap” and a “good person.” If only Dave had taken the trouble to look around him when he was waiting in reception for his PR chat, he might have seen just who Lutfur’s council is in fact “reaching out” to.