A U.K Muslim Brotherhood group was reported by a British newspaper to have placed ads in London’s Bengali press before the recent London mayoral election claiming that the opposition candidate would ban the Koran and hates Muslims. According to the report:
Ken Livingstone supporters are claiming that Boris Johnson would ban the Koran in adverts in the capital’s Bengali-language press. The claim is one of a number of last-minute tactics – condemned by Mr Johnson today as “poison” and “desperate” – being used by Mr Livingstone’s backers to sway crucial votes. The “dirty tricks” were uncovered in a Standard investigation which also found that:
• Bengali-language leaflets are being handed out at mosques saying that Mr Johnson “hates Muslims” and it is a “moral duty” for Muslims to support Mr Livingstone.
• One of Mr Livingstone’s key advisers has promised to give members of one ethnic community “well-paid jobs”, with salaries of up to £80,000, if he is re-elected.
• TfL has embarked on a massive pre-election advertising blitz in parts of the ethnic press, which have then offered full support for Mr Livingstone’s re-election.
The Bengali-language leaflet, a copy of which has been obtained by the Standard, was handed out at Friday prayers last week at mosques in Brick Lane and other Bengali parts of the East End. According to an independent translation, it says: “Boris has expressed his hatred against Islam, the Koran and the Muslims… It is Muslims’ moral duty to support Ken.” The other side of the leaflet is in English. It carries a less incendiary message and makes no attacks on Mr Johnson. The leaflet was produced by the British Muslim Initiative, whose offshoot, Muslims 4 Ken, was recently exposed by the Standard as involving a declared supporter of suicide bombing. It carries no imprint for a printer as required by electoral law. The BMI has also placed a large advert in the main London Bengali paper, Janomot, which misrepresents a quote of Johnson’s to allege that he would ban the Koran. The advert quotes Mr Johnson as writing, on 21 July 2005: “The proposed ban on incitement to religious hatred makes no sense unless it involves a ban on the Koran itself.” It fails to include the rest of Johnson’s sentence, in which he describes such a ban as “absurd”.
The BMI is a U.K Islamic group led by long-time U.K Brotherhood leaders Anas Al-Tikriti and Azzam Tamimi, formerly leaders of the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), another Brotherhood group. A previous post has detailed their role in the group known as Muslims 4 Ken, created to supported the incumbent mayor Ken Livingstone who has just been defeated by his challenger Boris Johnson. Livingstone had been a long-time supporter of U.K Brotherhood groups and in 2004 drew international attention when he invited global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi to speak at City Hall in London where the Sheikh reiterated his support for suicide bombings in Israel. Previous posts have discussed the U.K Brotherhood’s support of Livingstone’s failed re-election bid. Particular interesting in this report is the allegation that the BMI was making radically different statements in the Bengali versus the English version. BMI has to date issued no denial of this story.