Tower Hamlets Labour Party faces accusations of Islamophobia from local faith leaders

Puru Miah

Twenty six East London Muslim faith leaders have expressed outrage at the circumstances surrounding the suspension of local Councillor Puru Miah, who was suspended for a Facebook post prior to his membership of the Labour Party.

Miah, who represents the Mile End ward, recently received an official letter of suspension from Labour warning him about an investigation into his conduct over claims of antisemitism.

The letter came a few days after he had appeared on a 5Pillars show discussing Islamophobia in Labour.

Miah shared a post on Facebook in 2014 about a book called “The Invention of the Jewish People” by Israeli historian Shlomo Sand. The book argues that most modern Jews descend from converts whose native lands were scattered across the Middle East and Eastern Europe, rather than Israel.

Following his suspension Puru Miah issued a statement unreservedly apologising for the hurt caused.

Regarding Puru Miah’s case, a Labour Party spokesperson said: “The Labour Party takes all complaints of antisemitism extremely seriously and they are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures, and any appropriate disciplinary action is taken.”

Labour leader Keir Starmer has said the party takes Islamophobia seriously and is committed to eradicating it.

Below is the letter supporting Mr Miah in full:

Support for Muslim Councillor Puru Miah

As faith leaders of the Muslim community in East London, we have always found Councillor Puru Miah to be on the front line, encouraging members of our community to take an active role in civic society. Advocating civic activities such as dialogue with other communities, tackling poverty, assisting the vulnerable or speaking out against injustice in all its forms.

Prior to being elected a Councillor, he was well known in our community as an active grassroots educator, advocate and organiser. His capacity as a public official to live by the principles of justice, even in trying times has compelled us to express our solidarity in writing.

Puru Miah on The Big Picture

At a time when Muslim members are publicly tearing up their Labour membership cards and a large number of Muslims reporting their experiences of prejudice in the party, Puru has been a lonely voice inviting us to continue our engagement with the Labour Party.

The indignation in the community at his suspension is heightened, precisely because the suspension took place days after Puru discussed Islamophobia in the Labour Party at a Muslim news magazine. The official reason given to the media, being a Facebook Post made prior to his membership in the party. We feel further aggrieved as this stands in stark contrast to the inaction by the local party to multiple complaints of Islamophobia against prominent members and elected officials.

We write this letter because we fear, a local Labour Party without the confidence of the Muslim community will damage the prospects of both the community and the Labour Party, as it did in 2010.

Mufti Umair Zulfiqar – Secretary of World Islamic Forum

Mufti Abbas Kaptai – Globe Town Muslim Association Bethnal Green

Moulana Mohammed Yaser – lead Chaplin Homerton Hospital

Maulana Abdul Alim – Wapping Muslim association

Moulana Abdus Samad – Madani Girls School

Moulana Sabir Mutihur Rahman – London Islamic School

Moulana Sheikh Easa Mansuri – Allama Nadwi Academy, Newham

Moulana Mohammad Ali – Baitul Aman Bethnal Green Mosque

Moulana Mohammad Badruzaman – Madani Maktab

Moulana Shaikh Mushtaq Ahmed – Roman Road Masjid, Bow

Imam Akhlaq Rahman – Imaams Council  Tower Hamlets

Imam Abdur Rab – Crescent College Ilford

Maulana Faizullah – Iqra, London

Moulana Abdul Muhib – Redbridge

Ashfaq Kkhan – Khatme Nubuwwat, Newham

Moulana Abu Taher – Shoreditch

Moulana Askir Rahman – Stepney Green

Moulana Muzibur Rahman – Newham

Moulana Abdus Samad – Poplar

Moulana Ali Ahmed – Bethnal Green

Moulana Mudaseer Ahmed – Newham People’s Alliance

Moulana Shaikh Ubaidullah – Isle of Dogs

Moulana Sabir Ahmed – Stepney Green

Kamran Shaikh – Newham Community Unite Party

Hafiz Mahmudul Hassan – Shadwell

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