RECOMMENDED READING: “Borough Of Tower Hamlets: A Byword For Sleaze ”


British journalist Andrew Gilligan has written an article looking at corruption in the London borough of Tower Hamlets, ruled by a mayor close to the Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE). The article begins:

18 Jan 2014 The Old Poplar Town Hall, in East London, has a secure place in British political history. It was here, in 1921, that radical Labour councillors, led by George Lansbury, began a rebellion against ‘unfair’ rates that resulted in them being sent to prison, and triggered reform of a system that discriminated against poor areas such as Poplar.

Almost a century later, Poplar Town Hall, now absorbed into the borough of Tower Hamlets, is making history of a different kind. It has become part of the spoils in a rather more sinister redistribution of wealth by Britain’s most disturbing local authority. In behaviour described by one councillor as ‘out of control’ and smacks of the days of Shirley Porter, a directly elected mayor with close links to Islamic extremism appears to be abusing public money and council assets to reward his supporters and, in the words of the local MP, Jim Fitzpatrick, to ‘buy his re-election this May’.

‘It is going on under our noses in the heart of the capital city and no one is doing a thing about it,’ says Peter Golds, the leader of the opposition in Tower Hamlets. ‘The authorities — the Government, the Electoral Commission — seem paralysed. This is a test for us all about whether democracy can be bought.’

In 2010, after investigations by The Sunday Telegraph, the then Tower Hamlets council leader, Lutfur Rahman, was replaced, deselected and later expelled by the Labour Party because of his close links to an extremist Muslim group, the Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE), based at the radical East London Mosque.

But, thanks in part to another campaign by the IFE, Tower Hamlets changed later that year from a conventional council leader to an all-powerful directly elected mayoralty. Mr Rahman stood as an independent, winning on a tiny turnout with the help, as his own campaign coordinator later admitted, of a mass mobilisation by IFE activists. This year’s poll, however, coincides with the local elections, turnout will be higher and voting probably tighter — so Mr Rahman and his friends appear to be pulling out all the stops. 

Poplar Town Hall is a case in point. A large and attractive Victorian listed building, a stone’s throw from Canary Wharf and steps from a future Crossrail station, it is worth millions. But The Sunday Telegraph has learnt that in 2011 the council sold it for £875,000, little more than what a three-bedroom Victorian house in the neighbourhood would cost. Poplar Town Hall, though, is big enough for its new owners to be converting it to a 25-bedroom hotel.

Read the rest here.

According a report by the Center for Social Cohesion, the Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE) operates out of the East London Mosque and shares many of the same trustees and senior management including Muhammad Abdul Bari,  the former Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB). The CSC also reports that In October 2003, IFE invited Anwar al-Awlaki to speak at its ‘expoislamia’ event. Anwar al-Awlaki is the pro al-Qaeda imam based in Yemen whom the Fort Hood shooter had been in contact. It should also be noted that the London Islamic Center, an $18 million facility built in 2004 that houses the Islamic Forum of Europe and its associated East London Mosque, also contains the offices of Muslim Aid, known to have been a member of the the Union of Good, a worldwide coalition of charities headed by global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi that helps to raises funds for Hamas. According to the Daily Telegraph, the IFE has placed sympathizers in elected offices including gaining significance influence over a local government council.

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