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What is going on at Tower Hamlets Council?

Last week a Channel 4 Dispatches programme presented by Andrew Gilligan featured some highly successful entryism of Islamic extremists into Tower Hamlets Council via the Tower Hamlets Labour Party. With bitter irony the source is the East London Mosque which has received millions of public funds - including money "to prevent violent extremism." It is rather as if the Equality and Human Rights Commission gave a donation to the BNP.

The mosque is under the control of the Islamic Forum of Europe. They are merchants of hate and apologists for terror - an outfit no decent Muslim would wish to be associated with.

Generally the Labour Party membership might have been at a low ebb in recent times. But in Tower Hamlets it has been soaring. The problem is that these new recruits have been overwhelmingly Islamic fundamentalists.

They weren't always so supportive of the Labour Party. At the last General Election they backed Respect candidate George Galloway. The programme obtained a recording of him seeing the IFE played "the decisive role in this historic victory."

Local Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick made clear his concerns. "They are acting an an entryist organisation," he told the programme.

Their great success has been to get Labour councillors to elect Cllr Lutfur Rahman as the council leader. Five of them spoke off the record about how they faced deselection unless they supported him. The transcript of his interview with Gilligan is a triumph of evasiveness. Since he became leader the Council has appointed Lutfur Ali as an Assistant Chief Executive on £125,000 a year. Mr Ali is linked to the IFE via a group he set up called the Centre for Muslim Affairs, with fellow directors who are IFE trustees. His role in the Council includes handing out grants - as a result funding is being shifted from secular groups to Islamist ones associated with the IFE.

The IFE appear to have a foot in both the Labour Party and Respect. They are contemptuous of democracy (regarding it as getting in the way of establishing Sharia law) yet willing to cynically exploit the democratic process to advance their ends, It is much like the Militant takeover of Liverpool Council in the 1980s. The response of the Council to the revelations shows how far gone the situation is. They thought the key thing was to shoot the messenger and complain about the Conservative Group leader Cllr Peter Golds although attempts to suspend Cllr Golds have now been abandoned.

The Labour Party have put Tower Hamlets Labour Party into special measures. We shall see how drastic the measures taken when we see the choice of official Labour council candidates in May. Will the Council leader Cllr Rahman himself be deselected? There may be partisan advantage that the Labour Party have been dragged into such a terrible mess. But in the interests of democracy I wish them well in purging themselves of the IFE infiltrators swiftly and effectively.


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