Press Release

PRESS RELEASE: Respect Party Tower Hamlets Chair Arrested After Attacking Elderly Jewish Man

StandforPeace can reveal that the chair of Tower Hamlets Respect Party has been charged by police after she was caught on CCTV punching a Jewish man in the Covent Garden branch of Tesco.

Carole Swords, a colleague of controversial Respect Mayor Luftur Rahman and a committed activist within the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, pleaded not guilty at the City of Westminster Magistrates.

StandforPeace believes there to be a more sinister motive to her actions, and Hasan Afzal, Director of the organisation, has accused her of representing “the most frightening sort of supremacist”

Carole Swords was recently condemned by a number of groups, including the Community Security Trust, the Jewish anti-racism organisation, after she was filmed shouting at Jewish supporters, “Go back to Russia”. [1]

Sam Westrop, Director of the Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy, stated, “It’s yet another urgent clue as to the hateful rhetoric and extremism that plagues the Respect Party. Imagine if someone told a British black citizen to ‘go back to Kenya’. Rightly, there would be utter outrage.”

He continued, “And yet Respect is a party whose links to extremist speakers is well documented, so perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. Nevertheless, we call upon decent members of Respect to remove such extremists from their party.”

Swords has previously been banned from Council premises after she threw a glass of water over Councillor Marc Francis in the Council chamber. [2] Other counter-extremists have raised fears over Swords’ links to Mahmoud Al-Zahar, with whom she was recently photographed. Al-Zahar has claimed that it is acceptable to kill Jewish children all over the World. [3]

Hasan Afzal noted, “As a member of Muslim-Jewish organisation specifically created to challenge extremism, it is deeply alarming to me that someone such as Swords, as a influential figure in Tower Hamlets Council, would engage in what we believe to be a racially-motivated attack. StandforPeace has already documented her endorsement of a number of supremacist and far-Right websites. [4] She must stand down.”

Swords requested the trial date be moved because she is travelling on a convoy to Gaza to meet with senior officials of the terror group Hamas. The next court date is now set for the 3rd November at 2pm.

Note for Editors: Set up in 2009, StandforPeace is a Muslim-Jewish organisation that seeks to fight extremism, provide a platform for rational discussion over the Middle East and to promote strong interfaith relations.

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