A Liberal Democrat councillor has had to apologise to Salma Yaqoob:
A leading Birmingham city councillor has been forced to issue a public apology after accusing another councillor of being a Muslim extremist.
Liberal Democrat Martin Mullaney said he “apologised unreservedly” for stating that Respect councillor Salma Yaqoob supported stoning people to death and wanted to see Britain become an Islamic republic.
The back-down came after a stormy council meeting which saw Coun Yaqoob refuse to join a standing ovation for war hero Lance Corporal Matt Croucher, who won the George Cross for bravery in Afghanistan.
The snub led Coun Mullaney to suggest Coun Yaqoob would have stood to applaud a suicide bomber.
He wrote on a website: “I can only assume that if one of the failed 21/7 London suicide bombers had been in the council chamber, Coun Yaqoob would have been demanding the council applaud the failed suicide bomber for their past heroic actions.
Yaqoob found the comments “malicious and extremely damaging”.
It is worth noting that Martin Mullaney is incorrect in his assertion that Salma Yaqoob is pro-stoning, at least according to Salma’s blog where she quite clearly was active in lobbying the Iranian government not to stone a woman to death.
However he may have been on firmer ground, though I suspect complaints may still have been made, if he had stuck to other accusations.
For example, it is no surprise that Salma Yaqoob would refuse to clap for a UK war hero, precisely because she was in favour of the extremist jihadists trying to kill him and undermine the Afghan government. In addition, before her foray into poltics, she had an interesting past:
Salma Yaqoob, one of the best known activists in the moribund RESPECT Party, cut her political teeth campaigning for the British jihadists who were imprisoned by the Yemeni authorities for their terrorist activities. A number of tourists, who had been captured by the Islamic Army of Aden-Abyan, were killed during the attempt to rescue them. The so-called Yemen Eight included both the son and the stepson of the radical Islamist preacher, Abu Hamza al-Masri who is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence for soliciting murder and inciting racial hatred.
She also wrote a playful article in Inayat Bunglawala’s “Trends” magazine, in which she imagined Britain as an Islamic Republic. The piece ended with a terrified Salman Rushdie fleeing the country.
Yaqoob has defended the latter article in the wake of the Mullaney controversy saying “I wrote that article when I was a student, many years ago. It is intended to be ironic, a mickey take.”.
Mullaney has had little support from Conservative Councillors, although one might have some private thoughts:
Conservative city councillor Matt Bennett joined in the debate, accusing Coun Mullaney of “straying close to Islamaphobia”.
Coun Bennett (Con, Stockland Green) added: “I did not support what Salma did in the council chamber, which was disrespectful. But to suggest that she would have stood and applauded a failed suicide bomber is nasty.”
Before Christmas, Birmingham Tory councillor Gareth Compton got into trouble for joking on Twitter that an Islamic journalist should be stoned to death.
He was suspended from the party, but police decided against pressing race charges.