Bye Bye Lutfur

When Andrew Gilligan exposed the Islamic Forum of Europe’s political operations and agenda in East London, the local council chose a dismissive and defiant stance:

Tuesday 2 March 2010

Channel 4 ‘s Dispatches programme

Channel 4 ‘s Dispatches programme, ‘ Britain’s Islamic Republic’, presented a picture of Tower Hamlets which many who live and work in the borough fail to recognise. Supposition and innuendo replaced the facts about a place with a proud tradition of anti-racism and where social cohesion is evident. Mr Gilligan presented little of substance and nothing that demonstrated that Tower Hamlets Council has acted improperly.

Some of the comments made during last night’s programme are familiar to us and have already been investigated. We will examine any evidence of illegal or inappropriate activity by council officers or councillors, should any evidence be provided to us. We accept that there will always be some members of the community who are unhappy about losing grant funding and urge people to come forward with any proof they may have that grants have been provided unfairly, either to the Council or the appropriate complaints/government body.

Oh dear. This just in from the East London Advertiser:

CONTROVERSIAL assistant chief executive of Tower Hamlets council Lutfur Ali has resigned tonight.

His resignation comes three weeks after he featured on the Channel 4 Dispatches programme about alleged extremism in the East End.

In a statement the council said he had resigned his job after “deciding to move on”.

Mr Ali has a background in diversity and took up the £120,000 job in September 2008, with special responsibility for policy, performance, and delivery at the council.

He also oversaw the communications, scrutiny, equalities and democratic services teams at the council.

At the time of his appointment concerns over the authenticity of his CV led to opposition leader, Tory Peter Golds, referring the posting to the council’s overview and scrutiny committee, but these concerns were not upheld.

Tonight the council’s chief executive Kevan Collins said he was sad to lose Mr Ali and acknowledged his contributions to the council.

Gilligan writes:

Lutfur Ali, one of the key figures in the fundamentalist Islamic Forum of Europe/ East London Mosque’s influence over Tower Hamlets Council, has tonight resigned, the council confirmed. Mr Ali was the second most powerful officer on the council and his departure is a major blow to the fundamentalists. The IFE’s opponents are overjoyed. “This is the tipping point,” says Badrul Islam, one of the main local opponents of the group.

Mr Ali, a close associate of the IFE, was appointed assistant chief executive of the council on £125,000 a year despite a negative headhunter report and a misleading CV. He featured heavily in my Channel 4 Dispatches documentary on fundamentalist infiltration into London politics.

As we reported, Mr Ali has been accused of moonlighting for other employers – who only realised when they saw him in our documentary.

So much for “supposition and innuendo”.