‘Zion­ist lobby’ peer at­tends anti-Is­lam­o­pho­bia launch

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY LEE HARPIN PO­LIT­I­CAL EDITOR

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.

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