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Saturday, 16 March 2013

The Curious Incident of Lord Ahmed Condemning Antisemitsm

File photo dated 22/12/08 of Lord Ahmed who has been suspended as the Labour party launched an investigation into allegations that he blamed a Jewish conspiracy for his imprisonment for dangerous driving. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday March 14, 2013. See PA story POLITICS Ahmed. Photo credit should read: Anna Gowthorpe/PA WireThere are several puzzling aspects to the story of twice-disgraced Muslim Labour Peer,  Nazir Lord Ahmed which are yet to be addressed.

First, we should ask not why his peerage is yet to be revoked but why he was ever awarded one in the first place. Political honours are  granted far too freely to the wrong people while too often, genuine, hard-working achievers receive nothing.

Second, we live in an age of instant communication. So why has it taken almost a full year for Ahmed’s ‘Jewish conspiracy’ allegations to surface?  Has the fine Anglo Press corps in Pakistan  just awoken from a prolonged hibernation? Have its members been away on a refresher course in Urdu? I think we should be told.

Third, The Independent newspaper’s Andy McSmith has noted that Lord Ahmed’s Conservative counterpart, Baroness Warsi, also used Urdu when she paid tribute to him during a dinner in Rotherham just before the last general election.

Writes McSmith: “The Lord Ahmed she was upholding as an example of a politician who put community before self is the same former Labour peer who was imprisoned for dangerous driving after an accident in which a young man was killed and who has apparently attributed that misfortune to a Jewish conspiracy.”

What, I wonder, would happen if British Jewish politicians were caught using Hebrew, Yiddish or even Ladino while on professional business? I suggest that after the guffaws of laughter subsided, their remarks would be noted, translated and transmitted worldwide in a trice!

Now Dr  Usama Hasan, a senior researcher in Islamic studies and a part-time imam, has weighed into the fracas by claiming quite astonishingly that Ahmed once rebuked him for spouting antisemitism and that the incident led him away slowly from Islamist extremism and towards interfaith dialogue.

Can we believe this? Perhaps there is more than one answer. But I conclude by reminding readers of a politically sensitive trial held in Hove, Sussex  during 2009 whose proceedings seem to me to be the mirror opposite of  those which caused Lord Ahmed to allege a Jewish conspiracy for his driving conviction.

I refer to the case of seven activists who caused £180,000 damage to the Brighton EDO MBM factory but were acquitted after they argued they were seeking to prevent ‘Israeli war crimes’ in Gaza. JUDGE.GEORGE.BATHURST.NORMANThe presiding judge, His Honour George Bathurst-Norman, who had been brought out of retirement specifically to hear the case, was later formally reprimanded by the Office for Judicial Complaints for expressing personal views during his 87-page summing up. He had suggested to the jury that "you may well think that hell on earth would not be an understatement of what the Gazans suffered in that time".

Doubtless, Lord Ahmed could not have put it better himself. But in Urdu – of course!



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