This is a cross-post from Ted Jeory
As a result of my post yesterday about Ahad Miah, the Tower Hamlets First candidate who published a salute to Hitler on his Facebook page during last summer’s Gaza crisis (and who was later chosen to go on a DCLG-funded outing to Suffolk to “promote integration”), Mayor Lutfur Rahman has been in touch.
Lutfur has asked me to publish the following statement and letter he sent to Miah today:
We were utterly unaware of Mr Miah’s alleged Facebook posting and deplore such postings. The Mayor has written to Mr Miah to ascertain what happened and to demand that this offensive posting is removed.
Tower Hamlets First is proud of its record on standing up to racism and fascism and operates a zero-tolerance policy on any form of bigotry from its councillors and supporters.
Dear Mr Miah,
I’m writing in regard to an alleged posting on your Facebook page that came to our attention through the Trial by Jeory blog.
I was shocked to see this as we at Tower Hamlets First have always assumed you supported Tower Hamlets First due to sharing our values – values to which strident opposition to racism is central.
You will be fully aware that Tower Hamlets First has always worked to facilitate understanding among faiths and cultures whilst standing up to fascism, and that we have the deepest respect for our borough’s Jewish community. In a year when anti-Semitic attacks in Britain have doubled it is essential that we show our solidarity with and support for the Jewish community.
With this in mind I would ask that you immediately delete the post and provide us with an explanation for the post.
Racism of any form will not be tolerated in Tower Hamlets First.
I’ve just had a look at Ahad Miah’s Facebook page and he’s written this statement:
I would like to emphasis the recent image which has been shared amongst many people and pointing finger at me has nothing to do with me.
My Facebook account access was close for several weeks until recently when I finally got access.
I am not a highly computer literate person but I do NOT agree anything in that message that was circulated..
I do sincerely apologise to all who have been offended by this but I can assure restrictions to my account will be very restricted from now on..
I had to read it twice to make sure I wasn’t mistaken. But he really does seem to be saying it wasn’t him, doesn’t he? He’s implying someone else posted it and that he had no control over his account.
So I had a look at last summer’s postings. Here’s a reminder of the Hitler one I found yesterday:
As you can see that was posted on July 15.
Indeed, he has now deleted it, but curiously others posted on or around that day, which all deal with the same topic, still remain there. For example:
Clearly he didn’t disapprove of everything posted by this mystery hacker. I wonder who it could have been.
Whether it’s enough to satisfy Lutfur, only the Mayor can say. Let’s put it this way: is it beyond reasonable doubt that what Miah is telling him is true?
Which brings us on to this coming Thursday when Election Court Commissioner Richard Mawrey QC will finally deliver his own ruling on the reasonableness of Camp Lutfur’s belief last year that John Biggs was a racist.
I think Lutfur would have jumped on Miah at any time he became aware of Hitler postings on his Facebook page, but coming just days before a decision that could ruin him politically and financially the timing is particularly sensitive.
But whatever happens on Thursday, he must know that this Hitler posting is not an isolated incident in Tower Hamlets. There have been several examples of antisemitism over very many years, including among political activists e.g. here and here.)
Whoever did post that image of Hitler on Miah’s Facebook page, I wonder how many others shared that view. Far more than people would admit methinks.