‘Zionist lobby’ peer attends anti-Islamophobia launch
THE WESTMINSTER launch of a new working definition of Islamophobia was attended by a peer who warned of a “Zionist lobby” and once claimed a prison sentence he served was the result of a Jewish conspiracy.
Lord Nazir Ahmed appeared in publicity photos to promote the event on Tuesday alongside parliamentarians from the All Party Parliamentary Group for British Muslims, including co-chairs Anna Soubry, a Conservative MP, Labour MP Wes Streeting and Baroness Warsi, the former Foreign Office Minister, who is treasurer of the group.
Mr Streeting hailed the launch of a new working definition of what constitutes Islamophobia saying: “Islamophobia is a form of racism and it is growing in our society.
“To tackle it, Islamophobia must be accurately and fully defined and that’s why this inquiry centred around the discussion on a working definition.”
But the presence of Lord Ahmed at Tuesday’s event will raise questions. One leading source in the Jewish community told the JC Lord Ahmed’s previous record “spoke for itself”.
The life peer was suspended from the Labour Party in March 2013 after the Times reported that he had blamed his 2009 prison sentence — for sending text messages shortly before his car was involved in a fatal crash — on pressure placed on the courts by Jews “who own newspapers and TV channels”.
The paper reported he told an Urdulanguage broadcaster in Pakistan that the judge who jailed him for 12 weeks was appointed to the High Court after helping a “Jewish colleague” of Tony Blair during an important case.
Lord Ahmed insisted he had “never been antisemitic” and had “unreservedly apologised” for any offence caused.
Lord Ahmed resigned from the party two months later, saying: “I do not recall when this interview was held and nor the person who carried out this interview… I reject the core story that emerges out of the alleged interview.”
In July 2013, Iranian media reported Lord Ahmed blamed the “Zionist lobby” for the decision of international satellite providers to ban the broadcasts of Iranian news outlets in the UK, including Press TV.
Lord Ahmed has been approached for comment about his attendance at Tuesday’s event.
The APPG cited research showing Muslims are discriminated against in employment, housing, education, the criminal justice system, public life and in political or media discourse.