Monday, June 28, 2010

Islamists got voters out for Livingstone

By Andrew Gilligan Published: 9:00PM GMT 06 March 2010

In an choosing lost by Mr Livingstone, the Islamic Forum of Europe helped secure large and astonishing swings towards him in the easterly London heartland.

In one ward, Spitalfields, his opinion share rose from 29.6 per cent in 2004 - an choosing he won - to 68.4 per cent in 2008, a climb of scarcely 39 commission points.

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In each alternative sentinel in Tower Hamlets and Newham with a sizeable Muslim population, his opinion rose by in between twenty-three and 36 commission points. His opinion in alternative Muslim and racial minority areas of London additionally rose, but by far not as big amounts.

Mr Livingstone"s mercantile growth body, the London Development Agency, had concluded to compensate some-more than �1.3 million to the East London Mosque, tranquil by the IFE, and described by critics as hardline.

Emails leaked to The Sundayshow that a comparison LDA central furiously protested opposite at slightest �500,000 of this grant, observant there were "major concerns" about the mosque plan and "no case" for giving it the money.

However, the central was overruled and the accede to was paid.

Part of Mr Livingstone"s choosing by casting votes climb will have been due to his antithesis to the Iraq fight and await for the Palestinian cause, both renouned between Muslims.

However, piece can be explained by the activities of a organisation called "Muslims 4 Ken," that The Sundayhas determined was run by the IFE"s village affairs co-ordinator, Azad Ali, and an IFE ally, Anas al-Tikriti of the British Muslim Initiative.

Mr Ali is listed on his personal web page as a "team member" of Muslims 4 Ken and on the Muslims 4 Ken site, along with one alternative person, as a "contributor".

On his IFE blog, Mr Ali has praised a key coach of Osama bin Laden, described al-Qaeda as a "myth," and fit the murdering of British infantry in Iraq.

Muslims 4 Ken done a array of feign and inflammatory claims opposite Mr Livingstone"s main opponent, Boris Johnson.

It leafleted mosques claiming that Mr Johnson had "expressed his loathing opposite Islam" and additionally claimed that he longed for to anathema the Koran.

Muslims 4 Ken"s website quoted Mr Johnson as observant that "racism is natural" but adding the sentences that followed ("It is as healthy as sewage. We all determine that it is disgusting.")

After the election, Muslims 4 Ken boasted that it "mobilised the Muslim village in rare numbers," saying: "We got out the vote."

Electoral officials have additionally voiced concern, The Sunday has established, about thespian fluctuations in the series of people purebred to opinion in Tower Hamlets.

In 2008, the year of the mayoral election, the area"s citizens was 154,181. The following year, when there were no vital internal polls in the borough, it forsaken sharply, to 148,970.

But in 2010, the year of internal legislature elections and a referendum on switching to a absolute directly-elected mayor in Tower Hamlets, the borough"s citizens has shot up again - to 160,278.

This is a climb of some-more than 11,000 voters, or 7.6 per cent, in usually a couple of months.

Office of National Statistics sum since to the legislature do show that the race of Tower Hamlets is rising, but usually by about 1.5 per cent a year.

IFE activists are heavily concerned in campaigning for a Yes opinion in the Tower Hamlets mayoral referendum.

Undercover footage taken by Channel 4"s Dispatches shows that they are organising to take the mayoralty, with roughly sum energy over the council"s �1 billion budget.

One IFE member, Abu Talha, tells the clandestine reporter: "The [new] mayor is going to have a lot some-more control. That"s because we need to get someone, one of the brothers, in there. Which we will do, either it will be hermit Azad [Azad Ali] or someone else."

The referendum was postulated after a heading IFE activist, Abjol Miah, organized a apply to containing the signatures of some-more than five per cent of the Tower Hamlets electorate, as the law requires.

However, a inform by legislature officers found that roughly half the names on the apply to were "invalid", together with some-more than five thousand that did not crop up on even the stretched electoral register.

A sum of 99.3 per cent of the names on the apply to are Asian, in a precinct where usually around 40 per cent of the race is Asian.

The apply to contains complete pages of names and addresses created in the same handwriting. Nonetheless, sufficient signatures were ruled to be current and the mayoral referendum was granted.

There is no idea that Mr Livingstone, Mr Ali, or Mr al-Tikriti conspired to supply votes or register feign electors.

However, investigations by The Sundayhave determined that a little of the new electorate - despite in a village where most people have usual names - do have the same names as people related to the IFE. The IFE definitely denied that it had purebred feign voters.

The launch of the "Muslims for Ken" debate came after the East London Mosque, that is closely continuous to the IFE, cumulative at slightest �1.3 million in appropriation from Mr Livingstone"s City Hall.

This enclosed �500,000 awarded by Mr Livingstone"s London Development Agency in 2004 for the construction of the mosque"s extension, the London Muslim Centre (LMC), that houses the domicile of the IFE.

The income was paid even though the comparison LDA officials in assign of the accede to resisted in scarcely clever terms.

Peter Brimson, the LDA executive in assign of the project, pronounced there were "unanswered questions" and "major concerns over worth for money" in the scheme, adding that there was "no box for an LDA contribution."

However, Mr Brimson was overruled and the mosque got the money.

Most of the rest of the income was awarded underneath the LDA"s "Ways to Work" programme for job-creation projects.

However, according to leaked mins of an LDA assembly on February twenty-one 2008, the mosque unsuccessful to grasp their targets underneath the programme, fixation usually 31 people in work in 2007 when they were engaged to place 140.

The targets were altered and the programme was lengthened for an additional dual years.

Mr Livingstone pronounced he could not review the project, or either he had been privately concerned in commendatory the payment. He refused to criticism on the activities of Muslims 4 Ken and said: "You are a liar who is stirring up racism."

Mr Ali insisted that his impasse with Muslims 4 Ken was singular to being asked to "contribute articles to the website."

He pronounced the IFE did "encourage people to register to vote" as piece of the charge to foster domestic engagement, but he definitely denied induction any electorate who do not exist, or any impasse in the mayoral petition.

"That would be criminal," he said. He pronounced the IFE did not organize the mayoral referendum petition.


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