London borough becomes Islamic Republic....
Thanks to Brigitte for sending this to me....this is a very scary story...
Outside the Wellington Way polling station in Tower Hamlets yesterday, as at many other polling stations in the borough, people had to run a gauntlet of Lutfur Rahman supporters to reach the ballot box. As one Bengali woman voter went past them, we heard one of the Rahman army scolding her for her “immodest dress.”
That incident is perhaps a tiny taste of the future for Britain’s poorest borough now it has elected Mr Rahman as its first executive mayor, with almost total power over its £1 billion budget. At the count last night, one very senior figure in the Tower Hamlets Labour Party said: “It really is Britain’s Islamic republic now.”
For the last eight months – without complaint or challenge from Mr Rahman – this blog and newspaper have laid out his close links with a group of powerful local businessmen and with a Muslim supremacist body, the Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE) - which believes, in its own words, in transforming the “very infrastructure of society, its institutions, its culture, its political order and its creed… from ignorance to Islam.” Mr Rahman has refused to deny these claims.
We have told how the borough’s change from a conventional council leader to a mayoral system came about as a result of a campaign led and financed by these two groups – and how the IFE, in its words, wanted to “get one of our brothers” into the position.
We have described in detail, again without complaint or challenge by Mr Rahman, his deeply problematic two years as council leader until he was removed from that post six months ago, partly as a result of our investigations. After he secured the leadership with the help of the IFE, millions of pounds were channelled to front organisations of the IFE, a man with close links to the IFE was appointed as assistant chief executive of the council despite being unqualified for the position and the secular, white chief executive was forced out. Various efforts were made to “Islamicise” the borough. Extremist literature was stocked in Tower Hamlets’ public libraries.
We have described, once more without complaint or challenge from Mr Rahman, how he signed up entire families of sham “paper” Labour members to win the party’s mayoral nomination – acts which caused him to be sacked as the Labour candidate by the party’s National Executive Committee.
Now, however, Mr Rahman has won as an independent – getting more than double the number of votes of the Labour candidate imposed in his place, Helal Abbas. As mayor, he will have far more power than he had as a council leader. And unlike a council leader, no-one can sack him, except the voters in four years’ time.
We should be clear what this result was, and was not. It was a decisive victory. But it was not much of an endorsement by the borough’s people. Turnout, at 25.6%, was astonishingly low, with most voters (particularly the white majority, and they still are a majority) unaware of, indifferent to or turned off by the process. Lutfur’s 23,000-odd votes are only about 13 per cent of Tower Hamlets’ electorate.
It was not a victory for any sort of democracy. It was the execution of a careful and sophisticated plan by a small, well-financed and highly-organised cabal to seize control of a London borough. It deployed not just volunteers from the IFE and other bodies but also people paid to campaign by Lutfur’s business backers. Someone also paid for tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of copies of the most pernicious literature ever seen in a British election, in which Mr Abbas was falsely smeared as a wife-beater, a bankrupt, a racist and and an insulter of Islam.