Rather humblingly, some of the local Bengalis who have campaigned against the fundamentalist Islamic Forum of Europe in Tower Hamlets gave me a thankyou lunch today. As I said to them, and not in any kind of faux-modest way, it is we who should be thanking them for putting their heads above the parapet in the Telegraph and my recent Channel 4 Dispatches film about the IFE.
They are extremely pleased about the election results, which saw the Islamists and their supporters comprehensively crushed. We discussed our next steps, some of which you will soon be hearing about here. In the meantime, you might be interested in this article the Guardian asked me to write, and particularly the cautionary note at the end.
As I say in the Guardian piece, “the danger in Tower Hamlets is not over. The IFE did win one victory this month – in its campaign for a directly-elected Tower Hamlets mayor, which was approved by a referendum held on polling day. The election for the new post will take place later this year.
“Part of the reason the fundamentalists did so badly on May 6 was that it was a high-turnout poll, with a general election on the same day. In a typical local-government turnout [such as the forthcoming mayoral election], roughly half what we saw this month, the IFE’s motivated activist base can have much more of an impact.”
As I also say, something else the election results do is to disprove the claims of many on the far right – including, unfortunately, some of the stupider commenters on this blog – that there is no such thing as a “moderate Muslim”. Bear that in mind when next tempted to bloviate, will you, folks?