Lutfur Rahman: Not a ‘bully’, just ‘sly’ and ‘unappetising’

8 April 2013

5:22 PM

8 April 2013

5:22 PM

For the record, I did not accuse Rahman of being a ‘bully,’ as he tells Spectator readers. I accused the Mayor of Tower Hamlets of being ‘sly’ and ‘unappetising’. His letter to the Spectator bears me out, I think. As does his ludicrous allegation that Rob Marchant and other Labour Party activists were threatening to murder him.
In an insinuating passage, he links Marchant – a principled man, and anti-racist – to the English Defence League. Look at how he does it:

‘Unsurprisingly, as a prominent Muslim figure, I frequently receive abuse and threats – mainly from racist extremists of the EDL-ilk. That and the sheer violence of Marchant’s language in discussing me (‘I will load the revolver and we can all take turns … [makes mental note to keep revolver well cleaned and oiled]’) should explain why I acted when the tweets were drawn to my attention.’

There was no remote hint of any racism in Marchant’s tweets or any other comments he made about him. But then this is a tactic many of us are becoming familiar with. Rahman and his kind are desperate to stop the notion gaining currency that you should oppose the Islamist religious right and the white far-right with equal force and for the same reasons. Criticise reactionary ideas on liberal and left wing grounds and their supporters immediately claim that you back the EDL and BNP. I have noticed that members of the white far-right are trying the same trick: oppose them, and you become a supporter of radical Islam. Truly what unites extremists is more important than what divides them.

Notice, too, in that passage that Rahman does not say that Marchant and his friends were joking on Twitter about killing themselves if Labour readmitted the renegade mayor to the party. Everyone else accepts that the tweets were just the banter of friends chatting among themselves, including the police, whose time the Mayor has wasted. Nor did Marchant say he ‘regretted’ the joke, as the Mayor claims. He said he regretted any genuine discomfort caused due to misunderstanding of the joke. I find it hard to believe that there has been any genuine discomfort whatsoever in this case, but there you are.

On to Rahman’s own record. No-one ever accused him of being a member of Islamic Forum Europe. The fact that he works with groups of other faiths is entirely irrelevant (so what?). That does not mean he cannot be a front man for Islamic Forum Europe


If he is not, why according to the Telegraph did, ‘six of the people who signed his nomination papers have the same names as senior office-holders and trustees of the IFE.’? 

If Rahman is a ‘moderate social democrat’, as he claims, why did the Press Complaints Commission rule that he can be described as ‘extremist-backed’, if he is not backed by extremists?

If Rahman is not intent on harassing people who disagree with him, why has he just wasted £100,000 of the public funds of a desperately poor borough harassing a whistleblower (a case which he lost)?

And why, while I am at it, did Rahman put in place as assistant chief exec to the council someone with close links to the IFE, even though recruiters could barely find any evidence that he was remotely qualified for the role?

If the IFE is not an ‘extremist network’, as he claims, does he deny its links to the murderous Jamaat-i-Islami, whose leaders in Bangladesh are currently on trial for vile war crimes? Does he suggest it has never had connections to hate preachers? The idea that it is not extremist is risible. That ‘every previous council leader’ has worked with Islamic Forum Europe, by the way, is hardly a recommendation, merely an indication of the dire state of the local Labour party. 

Doubtless the ‘moderate social democrat’ will be supply answers to these pressing questions to Tower Hamlets’ luckless citizens soon.

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Show comments
  • Alfie (Alf) English

    The Mayor runs two programs that he uses to distribute awards, Community Chest and Community Events. Look at the website

    towerhamletsitsyourmoney co uk

    for details on to whom these awards are being made. This information apparently wasn’t available online, and reportedly had to be transcribed by a team of volunteers.

    It makes for interesting reading, especially their documentation of newly formed organisations receiving awards. Some have apparently dissolved after getting money.

  • gary reddin

    Lutfur Rahman has supported me along with Cllr Rabina kahn with all the homophobic abuse i have been receiving from a tenant above me. My landord Newlon have let it go on for near 3 years. Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg,Mp Jim Fitzpatrick and David Cameron did nothing to support me.
    So my votes will be going to Lutfur Rahman and Cllr Rabina Kahn. God Bless both of them

    • Steed

      This guy works for Lutfur Rahman! He’s posted the same comment on several forums.

      • gary reddin

        Lol….. Steed i dont work for Lutfur rahman mate, i am actually disabled and not working, i am just getting my message out there as to how i have found the Mayor to be helpful, everybody is entitle to their opinion and i have voiced mine. i went to a white pensioners dinner club where the mayor had funded it from the charity money, but nothing was mentioned about that, if you heard what the old people said about him then you would probably be surpised after seeing Panorama last night. I called Positive East this morning which is a local charity in Stepney Green after seeing the documentary last night and i asked if they got any funding as i felt they deserved it, they replied yes and that they had received it all the time the mayor as been in, Also i found out today, that the charity Witness Support which supports victims for many things and is a very worthy charity is now getting funding from the Mayor, i feel very passionate about this charity as they have supported me very much after being attacked and having to face the courts, so i can only speak as i find

  • Ian Townson

    I find it hard to believe that Lutfur Rahman is an Islamist
    extremist. He attended an LGBT event in Tower Hamlets against the EDL’s
    misuse of a pride event to gain recruits and credibility among the LGBT
    community. Not only did Rahman speak in favour of LGBT rights on stage
    but he also had the temerity to embrace a drag queen. Hardly the actions
    of an ardent Islamist fanatic. He is clearly guilty of cronyism (so
    what’s new in local/central government?) by being promoted by and
    favouring IFE individuals and for that he should be censured. He should
    also be taken to task, as you have done, for misrepresenting and
    distorting Rob Marchant’s remarks.

    As for the IFE. Clearly they are robust promoters of Islam as they have
    a right to be. We wouldn’t object to groups ardently promoting
    Christianity, Judasim or even Moonie loonies extolling the virtues of the Unification Church. This does not make the IFE
    a terrorist organisation or a promoter of terrorist groups and actions.
    In fact, according to the journalist Robert Lambert, the IFE youth
    group has condemned Al-Qaeda and Al-Muhajiroun for their promotion of terrorism. You cannot simply take the remarks made by individuals for what their organisation stands for. Hence the statement about sharia law should not be taken at face value but be the basis for objections and challenges.

    As an atheist, humanist and secularist with socialist leanings I am no defender of religious beliefs and practices and I am opposed to religion having any political role to play at all. I agree with you that we should not be inhibited in attacking backward, reactionary movements be they religious, political or otherwise but the facts of the matter in this case just don’t add up.

  • Muhammad Haque

    Excuse me, Nick!

    Did I read that bit in your explanation right?

    That your cited person Mr Rob Marchant is a “principled man and, anti-racist”?

    I do not recall ever having any direct encounter with him in my 33 years since joining the Labour Party.

    So I would be most interested to actually meet him and learn from him about anti-racism in the context of Tower Hamlets Council.

    Better still, could you cite some published work by him opposing racism?

  • ddrreett

    also – you clearly did accuse Lutfur Rahman of being a bully. i.e. “the Lutfur Rahmans and all the other bullies”. You are simply lying in the beginning of this article – lucky for you the link doesn’t work.

  • ddrreett

    This is really poor journalism. You can’t actually back up your allegation about him and the IFE so you’re reduced to a bunch of ‘what if’ questions.

    “In an insinuating passage, he links Marchant – a principled man, and anti-racist – to the English Defence League.”

    of course, you’ve never, ever try to link anyone by insinuation, would you Nick? Not even in your guise as Private Eye’s Ratbiter where you not-so-subtly claimed that all Green Party members are pretty close to Nazis, since both parties were interested in ecology? And the list could go on and on.

  • andy_gill

    I hope you and Rob Marchant, and others of like mind on the left keep the spotlight on Lutfur Rhaman. He is a reminder of what many parts of Britain could have to endure if his obnoxious brand of Islamist entryism is not confronted.

  • Mark Cooper

    Rahman is a corrupt lying bag of excrement.

    • AY

      correction: not just extremist but islamic extremist

    • Ian Townson

      Have you ever met him? For Christ’s sake develop an argument rather than spewing venom otherwise you will be accused of idiocy.

    • Ian Townson

      Evidence? Proof?

  • Mark Cooper

    Bangladeshi village politics in Tower Hamlets. Although presumably in Bangladesh politics isn’t full of wankers crying ‘racism’ every five minutes…

  • Shazza

    Well Nick, you people on the Left are now reaping what you have sown. You deliberately flooded the country with people who are hellbent on flying the Islamic flag over No. 10 (remember ‘rubbing the right’s noses in’? – in order to keep your lot in power forever. What are you going to do about it now? Do you still labour under the illusion of ‘moderate Islam’? What are you going to say to your daughters/granddaughters when they have to view life through a burka? Are you going to explain to them how instead of watching the Premier League on Saturday afternoons they will be watching gays, apostates, etc. being stoned/beheaded? Oh yes, if you check out the policies of the EDL they are distinctly socialist as were the policies of National Socialism, Fascism and all the other socialist ideologies that the Left has successfully branded ‘far right’ in order to sanitise their own shortcomings.

    • Ian Townson

      Nothing like a piece of smug, self-satisfied silliness to make you feel better Shazza. I don’t see any Islamic flags (whatever they are) flying anywhere. A few loud-mouthed fanatics including the EDL/BNP lot, though they try to pretend to be otherwise, seem to have had a disproportionate effect on your imagination. You seem to forget that the people most affected by terrorist atrocities from Islamist extremists are muslims (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia etc.) hence there are indeed ‘moderate’ muslims who have a stake in defeating terrorism including those in this country (our fellow citizens). The paranoid assertion that Britain will be governed by sharia law is best left to those whose forte is stirring up delusional hatred against muslims. The Left has many short comings as well as positive attributes. That is why it is not helpful to lump the Left together as one undifferentiated mass. The National Socialists/Fascists did not follow socialist ideologies. Their main financial backers and supporters were aristocrats, big industrialists, small businesses and the middle class generally. After all they promised to tame the trade unions, destroy communism and eliminate Jewish dominance over finance and commercial enterprises backed up by pseudo scientific theories of Germanic racial supremacy. The jewel in Hitler’s crown was his promise to restore German industry to profitability. Their thug armies were made up of what Marx would call the dregs of humanity. Not sure how this all ties in with ‘socialism’. Right wing populism methinks.

      • Ian Townson

        Also your equation of socialism with Fascism/Naional Socialism implies that individuals like Clement Attlee, Aneurin Bevan, Richard Crossman, Michael Foot, and even Tony Benn either were or are crypto-Nazis.

  • Daniel Maris

    I post this on another thread, but it’s relevant here.

    BBC Panorama (yes – the much maligned BBC) have been investigating
    how Sharia courts operate in the UK, to the detriment of women.

    “In a small terraced house in east London, a woman and her husband argue
    before an Islamic scholar who sits on a dais above them in a room that looks and
    feels like a court.

    This is Leyton Islamic Sharia Council, and Dr Suhaib Hasan will decide if the
    woman can have a divorce. Her husband is refusing to grant her one and the
    couple have been coming here for a year.”

    Yes, not a UK judge, but a Sharia judge. This is happening all over
    the country and nothing is being done to stop the operation of these
    Sharia courts that function as a parallel legal system.

    Does the Tower Hamlets Mayor support or oppose this parallel legal system?

    • AY

      what really matters is that British PM supports it – otherwise, these “courts” would be closed long ago.

      • Daniel Maris

        Yep. Together with the completely unregulated parallel school system being operated in this country.

        • Ian Townson

          New Labour and presumably this government sanctioned faith schools. This presumably includes Jewish, Christian and other religious groups. So…instead of singling out Islamic schools we get rid of the lot and return to a secular system?

    • Ian Townson

      New Labour and presumably this government sanctioned faith schools. This
      presumably includes Jewish, Christian and other religious groups.
      So…instead of singling out Islamic schools we get rid of the lot and
      return to a secular system? Presumably these schools are also governed by parallel legal systems?

  • Richard Armbach
  • darwins beard

    It is long overdue that the Islamist in sheep’s clothing is called out for who he really is, Its a shame that those who have vote for him are either complicit to his views or woefully ignorant of his true nature.

    • Ian Townson

      Presumably he is the devil in disguise. Perhaps we should burn him as a witch.

  • Austin Barry

    Tower Hamlets: the petri dish for tribal politics where a creature like Rahman and his cronys can prosper. Depressing.

  • Curnonsky

    It’s a classic case of the dog that didn’t bark – if he is truly a high-profile “social democrat” in the heart of Islamist territory he’d be their prime target. That he isn’t tells us all we need to know about his real agenda.

    • TH Activist

      Maybe he’s just not in Islamist territory.
      Tower Hamlets is more social democrat territory.
      Thought about that?

    • Ian Townson

      What is his real agenda? Are you a conspiracy theorist?