For all of you who thought that the Tories wouldn’t attempt to harvest IFE-marshalled votes, here’s a nasty surprise:
Peter Golds, the Tory leader on Tower Hamlets council, bravely stood up with the Muslim moderates and against the IFE fundamentalists in my Channel 4 documentary. But his colleague Tim Archer, the Tory parliamentary candidate for Poplar and Limehouse, is rather different.
I’ve known for a while that Mr Archer has quite close and interesting relationships with the IFE’s headquarters, the East London Mosque. I’ve been prepared, until now, to put this down to the usual naivety of the white political establishment. Maybe, I thought, like so many others, Mr Archer believed the mosque’s spin about its commitment to “community cohesion” and “tolerance.” Maybe he didn’t realise the major inconsistency between what they say to the likes of him, and the hate and extremist speakers they regularly host.
But Mr Archer must by now know what has gone on at this mosque. As an active politician in Tower Hamlets, he must be aware of the stories that the Telegraph, Channel 4 and this blog have run over the last few weeks.
So I can draw only one conclusion from his decision to appear at an IFE event on 30 March at the East London Mosque whose purpose is to attack “media smearing of Muslim organisations” (code, no doubt, for our investigations). That conclusion is as follows: Mr Archer is perfectly willing to allow himself to be used as a pawn by Islamists if he thinks there might be a few votes in it.
Mr Archer will be appearing alongside a number of other speakers who have, shall we say, a famously friendly relationship with Islamism: Bob Lambert, the former head of the Met’s Muslim Contact Unit; Oliver McTernan, director of “Forward Thinking;” and that celebrated figure, George Galloway – who owes the IFE, in his own words, “more than I can say, more than it would wise for me to say.” Nobody, interestingly, from the Labour Party. But there will be Muhammad Habibur Rahman, recent former president of the IFE.
Mr Archer’s opponent in Poplar is another brave witness against East End Islamism, Jim Fitzpatrick (also invited to the event, but I fear unlikely to attend!). Perhaps the IFE is whispering in Mr Archer’s ear that if he stands with them, they will stand with him to oust the evil Fitzpatrick.
But there are some things that democratic politicians simply should not do to win votes. Among those things, I’d suggest, is legitimising a group opposed to everything your party is supposed to believe.
There’s more over at Gilligan’s Island.