Tag Archives: Lutfur Rahman

Life On Gilligan’s Island (Part 16)

When I visited Tower Hamlets Town Hall last week to verify Kennite’s claim that,

Two weeks after the extremist-backed politician, Lutfur Rahman, became mayor of Tower Hamlets, his council has placed CDs of sermons by an extremist Islamic preacher in its Town Hall.

I passed The New Statesman’s Mehdi Hasan who was leaving as I was arriving. I thought he might have just  interviewed the new Tower Hamlets mayor, Lutfur Rahman.  Turns out he had. You can read Hasan’s interview here. By the way, there were no CDs.

You can read the latest nonsense from Gilligan here.


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Life On Gilligan’s Island (Part 15)

East India with Tower Hamlets Town Hall

In a blog dated 9 November, Kennite said,

Two weeks after the extremist-backed politician, Lutfur Rahman, became mayor of Tower Hamlets, his council has placed CDs of sermons by an extremist Islamic preacher in its Town Hall.

He goes on,

The CDs are being handed out to council workers and visitors as part of an official council-sanctioned display mounted in the Town Hall reception area from last week by an organisation called One Reason.

He says that,

Two councillors have been given them and have passed them to me.

Not being one to take Gilligan’s word at face value, I decided to take a trip to Tower Hamlets Town Hall and guess what? I saw no CDs of any description in the Town Hall foyer. All I could find was the local council newsletter (incidentally it is not as perniciously propagandizing as H&F News) and some local cycling and public transport guides. Someone is telling lies.

I would like to know who these two mysterious councillors are but I suspect that we will never know.

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Life on Gilligan’s Island (part 14)

Curry Bazaar on Brick Lane

I find it odd, if not puzzling, that a man like Andrew Gilligan is allowed pursue his very personal obsessions in public without rebuke from his employers. I have mentioned in this blog how The Daily Telegraph allows him to attract racist and Islamophobic comments to his blog without giving so much as giving him a proper slap on the wrists.

Today’s blog ploughs the same tedious furrow as so many others. The headline is “Lutfur Rahman: Ken Livingstone says bring him back to Labour”. I don’t know where our hotshot journalist has been for the last month but I reported on Ken’s appeal to Labour  to bring back Rahman to the party on 19 October. Not only is Kennite a yellow journalist, he’s a lazy journalist.

Here he smears Ken,

Now Ken – the single most important supporter of radical Islam in British politics – has pushed home his advantage. According to the Labour Uncut website, he has met Mr Miliband to press for Rahman’s early readmission to the party – and will propose a motion to that effect at the party’s National Executive Committee, of which he is a member, on 30 November. Team Miliband has apparently given the plea a sympathetic hearing.

I would challenge Kennite to produce some evidence for his assertion that Ken is “the single most important supporter of radical Islam in British politics”. But I could be waiting a very long time because it’s notoriously difficult to prove that  a lie is correct.

He’s produced a list of 11 ‘facts’. This one is particularly bizarre and appears to have been concocted in Kennite’s swamp-like brain,

6. proposed to “Islamically brand” the multicultural Brick Lane with “hijab arches.”

He links to a Guardian article from someone called Audrey Gillan, who was an embedded journo with the troops during the Iraq invasion. But reading the article it all appears to be based on hearsay. Of course what Kennite of Gillan fail to recognize is the fact that Brick Lane is a predominantly Bangladeshi area.  The area around Brick lane is called “Bangla Town”. I guess he’s sort of overlooked that. But that’s Kennite. He never lets the facts get in the way of a good story.

A good story would be one about the housing crisis in London. But Kennite wouldn’t touch a proper  story like that unless he could squeeze in some Islamophobic sentiments along with some anti-Ken smears.

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Life on Gilligan’s Island (Part 12) or The Reanimation of Dead Flesh

The Tower Hamlets mayoral election happened last Thursday and to look at Kennite’s blog today, one could be forgiven for thinking that it still had weeks to go. Today’s sensational headline is “Luftur Rahman: finally, this story is picking up steam”. Shouldn’t that be “building up [a head of] steam”? or “Picking up traction”? They don’t make journalists like they used to…anyway, Gilligoon’s blog is more of a hatchet job on the Labour Party and an attack on Dave Hill than it is an attack on Rahman.

This morning, the Guardian’s Julian Glover joins in, calling the election of the “discredited” Rahman “a modern local government catastrophe.” The paper’s interest is particularly welcome, since the Guardian’s London blogger, Dave Hill, has sometimes seemed a little out of his depth on this story.

No, Kennite, Hill isn’t out of his depth, you just don’t have much of a story and are trying to wring the last drops from it. Which reminds me, Dave Hill and Julian Glover have a different take on this…in fact, in spite of what Kennite says, the crux to Glover’s article is this,

This could be written up as a disaster for Labour, and it is. The party has ham-fistedly tried to overrule its local party and ended up giving ammunition to critics of east London Bangladeshi politics while losing the election.

But this is the tricky side of localism. If a community behaves and votes in ways that a national party believes is wrong, what right does it have to intervene? And even if it has the right, how can it be done? Ken Livingstone’s election as an independent mayor – and his backing of Rahman – shows you can’t easily impose local choice from above.

Gilligan decided that bit wasn’t worth mentioning and went straight for the part of the article where Glover says “I wish Rahman hadn’t been elected”. Kennite also missed this paragraph,

The second catastrophe took place decades ago, when the Borough of Poplar, the bravest and proudest council Britain has seen, was subsumed into the mess of east London politics.

But the paragraph that proceeds the one I just quoted from Kennite is quite interesting,

The Standard’s deputy political editor, Paul Waugh, wrote that “Neil Kinnock spent years in the Eighties trying to break the London Labour Party from the grip of the ‘loony Left.’ Today’s leader’s problem is how to root out corruption and extremism among some Bangladeshi supporters.” And the paper’s leader article called Lutfur’s election “a new low for London’s most rotten borough.. plagued by Islamist extremists.”

Ah, this would be the “loony left” that stood in opposition to Thatcher’s cuts and the same “loony left” that was a concoction of the right wing press? I’m willing to bet that Gilligan believes the “Baa Baa Black Sheep” story to be true. This isn’t the 1980’s yet Kennite continues to live in the Thatcherite past. Desperately short of ‘loony left’ councils to savage, he goes for the one thing that makes for sensationalist headlines in today’s paranoid world: allegations of Islamic extremism. I also noticed that Kennite has altered his language regarding Rahman. Instead of referring to him as an “Islamic extremist”, he now calls him a “fundamentalist ally”.

I wonder if Gilligan remembers Tower Hamlets when it was run by the Liberal Democrats? I’ll bet he doesn’t. He was making a nuisance of himself at Cambridge.

Finally, here’s a comment from Julian Glover on his article,

Thanks as ever for reading the piece.

davidabsalom, Manningtreeimp, BristolBoy & others… it’s always nice to surprise!

It’s been a strange election in Tower Hamlets – but not the first. More than most places, parties are superficial: the battles are within them (and especially Labour these days) are as big as between them. Perhaps that simply exposes the lack of real difference within the mainstream.

My colleague Dave Hill has followed politics in the borough far more closely than I ever could – really recommend reading his blog here:


Thanks again


Hmmm, that doesn’t sound as though Glover thinks Hill is “out of his depth”. It sounds as though Kennite is being bitchy – again.

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Life on Gilligan’s Island (Part 11) or Lutfur Rahman beats Kennite.

Last night Lutfur Rahman won the Tower Hamlets mayoral election and there was nothing the Labour NEC or Andrew Gilligan could do about it. It seems as though all of his ‘warnings’ fell on deaf ears. Today, Kennite tells us that “Tower Hamlets has become and Islamic republic” (these are allegedly the words of the local Labour party).

For the last eight months – without complaint or challenge from Mr Rahman – this blog and newspaper have laid out his close links with agroup of powerful local businessmen and with a Muslim supremacist body, the Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE) – which believes, in its own words, in transforming the “very infrastructure of society, its institutions, its culture, its political order and its creed… from ignorance to Islam.” Mr Rahman has refused to deny these claims.

Maybe it’s because Rahman knows there isn’t much point in challenging your baseless allegations because you’ll only twist his words. It’s what you do best. Once again, he makes an incredibly lazy connection with the long dead Militant Tendency,

Lutfur may well be the Derek Hatton of the 2010s, but unlike Hatton he is no longer Labour’s responsibility. Any thought of making up with Lutfur needs to be resisted – there’s only pain, not gain, there.

Naturally, the usual collection of fascist nutters have descended on his blog to make comments. Here’s one from someone who calls him/herself  ‘Lazarus’,

Atheist socialist are always eager to defend Islam, it is a kind of middle class racism, defending the other, the exotic. They will rally against a loving Christianity but defend a hateful ideology such as Islam.

Christian martyrs die praying for they murderers, Islamic martyrs die blowing up

I’m not sure what point ‘Lazarus’ is trying to make but whatever it is, he sounds like an archetypal bonehead.

Dave Hill tells us that,

Labour’s defeat will be followed by a grim inquest into their handling of the entire affair. There seems no doubt that Rahman drew strength from being seen as a victim of the Labour establishment and some relentlessly negative media coverage which his opponents in the party both feared and fuelled.

Yep, this was a Labour cock up from the very beginning; they got into bed with Kennite to produce smear after smear all for the sake of what? This whole affair is reminiscent of the way Nu Labour refused to allow Ken Livingstone to stand as a candidate for London mayor. Tony Blair told us “Ken would be bad for London”. Ken stood as an independent and comprehensively beat Blair’s picked man, Frank Dobson. On the basis of this election, it appears that Labour has learned no lessons from history. Nor has Kennite, come to that.


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Life on Gilligan’s Island (Part 10)

Yesterday, BBC London News went with this story about Ken Livingstone allegedly campaigning for Lutfur Rahman who was recently dumped as Labour’s mayoral candidate for Tower Hamlets by the NEC (who appear to have been nobbled by our old pal, Kennite). Livingstone has said that he is trying to get Rahman and the 8 councillors that were expelled for supporting him reinstated in the Labour Party.

Mr Livingstone said Labour had made “a big mistake” in removing Mr Rahman as its candidate.

“It took five years to put the Labour Party back together after George Galloway defeated Oona King down here,” the ex-mayor said.

“All that was blown away in a moment of madness by Labour’s NEC.”

Of course that is what Ken says. But according to Labour Party rules a party member who campaigns for another political party is automatically expelled from the party. Labour have, thus far, refused to comment. But this is the sort of stuff that Kennite can transform into gold; it’s a boost for his master’s campaign.

We know Gilligan is Boris Johnson’s cheerleader. We also know that Gilligan spends much of his time slinging mud at people he’s taken a dislike to. Yesterday he said,

He appeared in Brick Lane to support the fundamentalist sympathiser Lutfur Rahman, who was sacked as Labour candidate for mayor of Tower Hamlets last month because of deep concerns about his links with Islamic fundamentalism and with a group ofpowerful local businessmen (one of whom, Shiraj Haque, is standing next to Ken in some of the pictures of today’s event.)

Again, he repeats the accusation that Rahman is an “Islamic fundamentalist” when he has no evidence to support the claim. This blogger has also noticed Kennite’s bizarre obsessions. Friendlylefty also makes the very valid point that Kennite has been attracting the comments of racists. Here’s a typical comment that was made on 16 October, this commenter calls himself “monkey for sale”

The sound of Islamofascists/illegal muslim immigrants being rounded up and kicked out of the country needs to be heard.
We heard from you muslims on the 7/7 in London , that was loud and clear enough for me.
If you don’t want to live in a civilised democratic country then I suggest that you go home.Go home to the country that your parents or grandparents fled from.

Here’s another from the same commenter,

If you are so fond of Islamofascist preachers why not go, move you and your family , to an Islamic country ?

Islam is a filth . We here in the UK need a Geert Wilders .

If Gilligan isn’t a racist, then why does he allow comments like this to go unmoderated? I have seen other comments that have been deleted but those comments are critical of Kennite and his style of ‘journalism’. By the way, Geert Wilders is someone this country could do without; we have enough racist nutters in this country and we don’t need any more.

Kennite also had this to say,

Ken’s enthusiastic embrace of Islamism, of Yusuf al-Qaradawi (who has justified rape and suicide bombing) and his racial insults towards Jews did him real damage in 2008. His backing for Lutfur will revive all those concerns. If Boris’s ruthless Australian campaign team handles this properly, it could be worth a lot to them.

Eh? Where is your evidence that Livingstone has “embraced Islamism”? As for “racial insults towards Jews” doing him “real damage in 2008”, I wonder who had a hand in that? I also wonder how much Kennite knows about WWII, the concentration camps and the political position of the Rothermere press circa 1933?

Today’s blog has the headline “Ken Livingstone fights the cuts from a sunlounger”.  I wonder if Kennite can tell me how many original ideas his boss has produced since he has been mayor Emperor of London? I can tell him in one word: none.


Filed under London, London Mayoral election 2012, Tower Hamlets

Life on Gilligan’s Island (Part 9)

Part 9 has followed Part 8 rather quickly. I was looking at Dave Hill’s London blog and found this,

The more homework I do about the Tower Hamlets political scene, the more confident I am that reducing it to some sexy-sexy tale of scary-scary Muslims secretly plotting to turn the East End into an Islamic mini-state does it no justice at all.

For whatever reason, Gilligan won’t agree with that. While Kennite paints Lutfur Rahman as some swivel-eyed Islamist lunatic, the reality is rather more prosaic: the whole affair seems to hinge on the tensions between Helal Abbas and Rahman who were once friends and like many friends, they fell out with one another. This is where Kennite enters the frame: he’s used this ordinary tale of friends falling out as the starting point for his smear campaign against Rahman. But the friends angle simply wasn’t enough (presumably his handlers at The Torygraph wanted more juicy and salacious gossip than a pair of friends falling out) and Kennite made the allegation that the Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE) was a hotbed of Islamic fundamentalism and thus Rahman was tainted by association. In his blog on 8 October Hill says,

I think the IFE would quarrel with the label “fundamentalist” and the description “infiltrating” but not with being characterised as engaging with politics

That may be so, but Kennite prefers fiction to truth as today’s blog demonstrates,

London Citizens are good people but I’ve gone off them a bit since realising that two major constituents of Telco (their East London chapter) are our favourite Islamic supremacists – the Islamic Forum of Europe and the East London Mosque. I’m not quite sure how this stacks up with Telco’s declared aims of democratic decisionmaking and of promoting equal respect and dignity for all, regardless of faith – things the IFE definitely doesn’t believe in.

The only ‘evidence’ that Kennite has provided of IFE’s alleged “Islamic supremacism” comes from his slipshod Dispatches programme for Channel 4. He repeats the accusation that Rahman is a fundamentalist here,

The evidence of Lutfur’s links with fundamentalism has been in the public domain for the best part of eight months

Funny that. According to Christine Shawcroft (whose account of the NEC meeting Kennite rejected), Rahman is no fundamentalist; he was even seen in a local restauarant where alcohol was being served. There was a mix of Bangladeshi and ‘white’ women and no hijabs or niqabs in sight.

Ted Jeory, whom Kennite refers to as a “colleague”,  received a letter from Rahman rebutting Gilligan’s allegations of “Islamic fundamentalism”.

Somehow we don’t think Kennite will be convinced and will produce more wildly inaccurate stories of Muslim supremacists running amok on the streets of Tower Hamlets.

The weakest part of the blog is where Kennite compares Rahman to Richard Nixon. First Dave Nellist, now Nixon. Is there no depth to which this ‘journalist’ won’t plunge?



Filed under Islamophobia, London, Media, Yellow journalism