Lutfur Rahman

“Bengali Block vote” Bodrul Spills the Beans on Lutfur Rahman

Bodrul Islam is the RESPECT activist whose gender-segregated wedding at the headquarters of the Islamic Forum Europe, the East London Mosque, prompted a walk-out by Jim Fitzpatrick MP. He later re-emerged as the “chief coordinator” of Lutfur Rahman’s successful campaign to become Mayor of Tower Hamlets.

This was Bodrul’s recipe for success:

I personally think he should do what ken livingstone did, stand as an independent. With his popularity he will win, as the block bengali vote will be activated like never before.

As readers will remember, a very dirty campaign then ensured, in which the Labour candidate, Helal Abbas, was smeared as a wife beater in an expensive special edition of a local newspaper.

Both Ted Jeory and Andrew Gilligan report that Bodrul has become rather chatty on his Facebook page, of late. It appears that he is disappointed that Lutfur Rahman has not been offering cabinet posts to RESPECT councillors. Therefore, for reasons best known to himself, he has decided to punish Lutfur Rahman by chatting about the politicians links with the Jamaat-e-Islami front organisation, the Islamic Forum Europe, on Facebook. It is almost as if he wanted us to read and publish this discussion.

The revelations are set out in the following remarkable thread, in which Bodrul argues with Sultana Begum: a woman who – if memory serves me right – moved from RESPECT to the SWP/”Left List” to Labour, and then to Lutfur Rahman. Bodrul Islam is backed up on the thread by another key Lutfur Rahman supporter, Abul “Abz” Hussain: an outspoken racist and former member of the RESPECT National Council, now expelled from the party, who reportedly signed Lutfur Rahman’s nomination papers.

You can view a screenshot of the whole thread here.

The conversation is depressing stuff. One of the contributors is repeatedly accused of being “a feminist”. When she objects, the expelled racist politician “Abs” Hussain chips in: “It reminds me of those Zionists who label anybody who is critical of Israeli foreign policy as an Anti-Semite.”. Of course “Abs” didn’t get into trouble for being “critical of Israeli foreign policy”. He was expelled from RESPECT for making “jokes” about the supposed Jewish love of money.

However, there are some gems. Gilligan identifies the following key quotes from Bodrul Islam:

“Let’s not beat around the bush there has always been a strategic relationship between Respect, the IFE and the mayor’s camp. That presents to me no problems as all three groups are moderate organisations [sic] who have similar policy considerations. The mayor’s campaign co-ordination was heavily influenced by Respect and IFE activists. It was collectively and cohesively planned by the groups…

“We got activated and campaigned day and night for the mayor. It is no exaggeration that most of the campaigners during the election were either Respect or IFE activists. I was a polling agent for lutfur rahman in bromley by bow and chief co-ordinator. I was involved in a lot of the collaborative high-level meetings where I also met IFE activists…

“OK then Sultana [another poster on Facebook], do you not remember a strategic house meeting where you and I were present, along with Lutfur and [now deputy mayor] Ohid [Ahmed], [Lutfur-supporting councillor] Rania [Khan], Rania’s mum and a senior IFE member. Or was this a figment of my imagination? I will also give even greater details of other more strategic meetings of the way the mayor’s camp was desperate for Respect’s and IFE’s support.”

Ted Jeory lists the following Bodrul Islam quotes, from elsewhere on his Facebook page:

It’s about time I revealed some honest truth about the mayor’s camp. As someone who was heavily involved with the campaign and who is now being shunned by those who use to call me everyday, I intend to show how self-interested these politicians are. No one, not even lutfur’s camp in innocent in tower hamlets politics.

Oh readers sultana still pretending that she doesn’t know about this ife/mayor’s camp connection. People I will send you an inbox message sultana sent me during the election warning us that it would be politically damaging for the mayor if he admits he collaborates with respect and ife. I will upload it tomorrow. Hopefully her deceptive ploy will be discovered by all.

I don’t understand why the mayor’s team deny they have a strong relationship with the ife. Ife are a moderate organisation, so why this lie? I mean the mayor’s main advisor was an ife activist and his campaign headquarters were staffed by ife members/ activists.

But there is so much more. So very much more. Read the whole thread.

It is not difficult to work out what is going on here.

Lutfur Rahman is an extremely ambitious and self-serving politician. His political base has long been those Tower Hamlets Labour activists – now largely expelled – who were aligned with the Islamic Forum Europe. His campaign team consisted of RESPECT/IFE activists.

However, he is a sufficiently intelligent man to know that actually appointing senior RESPECT activists to his cabinet will stymie any chance of returning to the Labour Party. His best bet, therefore, is to continue to deny – as he did most recently in Mehdi Hasan’s “interview” the closeness of his connection with the IFE, and to wait until Ken Livingstone to work his magic, and wheedle him back into the Labour Party.

This isn’t going to happen.

The reason that it isn’t going to happen is that – largely as a result of Lutfur Rahman’s own conduct as Leader of the Labour Group in Tower Hamlets, and then in his campaign for Mayor – the nature of the Islamic Forum Europe is now common knowledge at the highest levels of the Labour Party. Not only does Labour now appreciate that it is a dangerous and extremist organisation: it is also a Militant Tendency like entryist organisation which has now worked openly outside the Labour Party to defeat its candidate. This sort of thing goes down very badly with the Labour Party hierarchy and its supporters.

Bodrul Islam can insist that “IFE are a moderate organisation”. However, nobody will buy that, now. The Islamic Forum Europe is the British franchise of the clerical fascist party, Jamaat-e-Islami, a nearly-defunct Islamist party in Bangladesh, whose Al Badr militia abducted and murdered prominent Bangladeshi intellectuals during the War of Liberation. Readers know that this group was founded by Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin, who has been accused in a Channel 4 documentary, and in an article in the Guardian, of involvement in genocide in Bangladesh. The IFE was also a host, in 2003, of the Al Qaeda recruiter, Anwar Al Awlaki. One of its senior activists, Azad Ali, supports the killing of British soldiers in Iraq. There’s so much more.

No surprise, therefore, that Lutfur Rahman wants to deny the closeness of his relationship with the Islamic Forum Europe, and RESPECT. However, what’s the point? Nobody from Labour will serve under him. The Tories won’t either. He isn’t going to be let back into the Labour Party.

Frankly, he might as well just hand out the sweeties to the RESPECT cronies, and have done with it.