‘Suicide bomb backer runs Ken’s campaign’

“An advocate of suicide bombing is among leaders of a group trying to mobilise Muslim voters to back Ken Livingstone, the Standard reveals today. For the past year, the group has been working on a strategy to win an estimated 200,000 Muslim votes in an effort to re-elect the Mayor. It includes a campaign of vilification aimed at his Conservative rival, Boris Johnson. It is being waged by Muslims 4 Ken, led by 39-year-old lecturer Anas Altikriti and Palestinian-born Azzam Tamimi, a supporter of Hamas, the militant group dedicated to the creation of an Islamic state of Palestine.”

Evening Standard, 16 April 2008

See also “Embracing Islam gives Ken new election hope” and “Ken’s friends“.

Read the response by the British Muslim Initiative and Muslims 4 Ken here and here.

And see also the statement by Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate Brian Paddick: “We have seen in the past how Ken Livingstone has invited the likes of Yusuf al-Qaradawi to City Hall, someone who holds abhorrent views, including treating women as second class citizens, the murdering of gay people and hatred towards Jews.”

Readers might also like to check out Tim Sebastian’s interview with Dr Tamimi which formed the basis of the Standard‘s headline (transcript here). Sebastian hectored, interrupted and badgered Tamimi throughout this long interview, basically accusing him of cowardice because he wouldn’t go to Palestine and become a suicide bomber himself. Eventually, Tamimi was provoked into making the remarks quoted by the Standard, which have been used against him ever since.

In clarification of his views, Tamimi later stated: “I said if I were to be put in the same circumstances that the Palestinians are put in, I might resort to doing that.” This may not be exactly what Tamimi said under the pressure of Sebastian’s harassment, but it’s the position he actually holds.

Update:  See also Anas Altikriti at Comment is Free, 17 April 2008