Muslim leaders back Ken Livingstone for Mayor
These ‘leading Muslims’ are a ragbag group of imams and ‘community leaders’, and cite Mr Livingstone’s support for the Palestinian people and opposition to UK policy in Iraq as key reasons for the capital’s Muslims to support him.
Ihtisham Hibatullah from the British Muslim Initiative, told The Guardian: "He supports religious freedom. He's committed to developing the skills of alienated communities and he's doing great work on social cohesion. These signatories are major players; they have reach and come the elections there will be a huge mobilisation of the Muslim vote."
This is the man who invited the Islamic scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi to London as his guest of honour. Al-Qaradawi is a known supporter of suicide bombings in Israel, favours the oppression of women and the diminution of their rights, and has argued that homosexuals should be put to death.
Mr Livingstone received letters of objection from the Board of Deputies of British Jews, along with Hindu and Sikh groups (not to mention various organisations representing the gay lobby).
Of course, he ignored them all, and has said that he is pleased to be endorsed by so many Islamic leaders. One wonders why he is so concerned to court this group when the Jewish community in some parts of London is very sizeable indeed, and he appears to care not a jot what offence he gives to them.
The Conservative candidate, Boris Johnson MP, told The Guardian that he took the endorsement of ‘so-called community leaders’ with a pinch of salt. He added: “My grandfather was a Muslim and so was my great-grandfather. I am proud of my Muslim ancestry. But I want to talk about the interests of Londoners. I don't care what religion they are. I want to look after people from all communities.”
Quite so. In Cranmer’s experience, many ‘Muslim leaders’ are self-styled, self-appointed, pathologically-Labour-supporting unaccountable busybodies who talk a lot of self-indulgent nonsense and are despised by many of those whom they purport to represent. It is Mr Livingstone who is playing the race and religion cards; Mr Johnson should simply stick to Londoners (with a little more effort and prominence), for therein lies the ace which will yield victory.