Nazir Ahmed: Lord of controversy

British Peer Lord Nazir Ahmed has resigned from the Labour Party over allegations that he made anti-semitic comments. The resignation came two days before he was due for a hearing with Labour’s National Executive Committee over alleged anti-Semitic remarks he made in a television interview.

The Times of London claimed they had obtained a video footage of an interview with an Urdu-speaking news channel. Ahmed apparently blamed a Jewish conspiracy of influential media tycoons who pressured the courts into handing him a 12 week prison sentence for dangerous driving in 2009. It is claimed that he said: “My case became more critical because I went to Gaza to support Palestinians. My Jewish friends who own newspapers and TV channels opposed this.”

Ahmed claims that he does not recollect making such statements and would have to go over the transcripts. His lawyer Stephen Smith said he did not think Ahmed would have received a fair trial from the Labour panel, and the party confirmed last Monday that Ahmed had resigned. He remains a member of the House of Lords.

But many Muslims remain concerned about double-standards that are applied by western governments. Zionist organisations and pro-Israeli groups seem to be protected under the banner of opposing “anti-Semitism” while Islamophobic rants are justified under “freedom of speech”. It seems not even Muslim politicians and peers who are part of the establishment are immune from it.

Lord Ahmed’s scrapes

After his appointment by Tony Blair as a member of the House of Lords in 1998, Nazir Ahmed has been a somewhat unorthodox member of the British establishment.

2001 – Ahmed claimed that his phone had been tapped by the government because of his opposition to the war in Afghanistan. He accused then Foreign Office Minister Denis MacShane because he claimed to have transcripts of Lord Ahmed’s private conversations to which MacShane responded that his remarks had been “misinterpreted.”

2005 – Ahmed in an interview with Robert Siegel on National Public Radio said that the 7/7 suicide bombers had an “identity crisis” and that “unfortunately, our imams and mosques have not been able to communicate the true message of Islam in the language that these young people can understand.”

2006 – Accusations were put forward by fellow Labour parliamentarian Shahid Malik that Ahmed had campaigned against him during the Dewsbury election in 2005 and indirectly backed Sayeeda Warsi of the Conservative Party, the daughter of a personal friend.

2009 – Melanie Phillips claimed that Ahmed had threatened to “bring a force of 10,000 Muslims to lay siege to the House of Lords if the campaigning anti-Islamist Dutch MP Geert Wilders was allowed to speak” at a broadcast of the film Fitna.

2012 – Pakistani newspaper The Express Tribune alleged that Ahmed said: “If the US can announce a reward of 10 million dollars for the captor of Hafiz Saeed, I can announce a bounty of 10 million pounds on President Obama and his predecessor George Bush” at a business meeting in Haripur, Pakistan. He was immediately suspended by the Labour Party. His suspension was revoked later that year.

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