Rushanara Ali, incumbent Labour MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, faces a significant challenge in the General Election from Ajmal Masroor who is considered by some in the Bangladeshi community of Tower Hamlets to be the ‘unity candidate’ to bridge the gap between the Independent group(s) and the Labour Party.
Asmal Masroor announced his candidacy in a Facebook post yesterday (see screen grab below).
Mr Masroor describes himself as an author, broadcaster and relationship counsellor on his website and his Wikipedia entry describes him as “a Bangladeshi-born British Imam, broadcaster and politician who is well known for being a television presenter on political discussions and on Muslim channels”.
Mr Masroor stood in the 2010 General Election for Bethnal Green and Bow for the Liberal Democrats when he came second with 10,210 votes (20.1%) to Rushanara Ali who won with 21,784 votes (42.9%).
In the past Mr Masroor has received death threats from extremists when condemning their actions, in particular after the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in 2013 when he stated that all Muslims condemned the killing as “inhumane and unacceptable”.
In October 2013 Masroor was alerted by anti-terrorist police that he been threatened by al-Shabaab, the Islamist insurgency group in Somalia, for speaking out.
On the 21st April (not 1st April as many thought) corruptly elected Tower Hamlets Councillor Oliur Rahman announced that he had submitted his application to his ‘group’ – or political party as it would be known in other parts of the UK – to be the parliamentary candidate for Bethnal Green and Bow.
Seriously. Look, here is his Facebook post. See! You couldn’t make this sort of stuff up!
Then yesterday Ajmal Masroor announced his candidacy…
As Oliur says his decision will not be influenced by Mr Masroor’s announcement. Top tip Oliur – it should be.
His decision will also not be influenced by the rebuff to his proposed candidacy from Rabina Khan’s team. The Wapping Mole tells us that when Oliur broached the issue he was told in no uncertain terms to “get lost”.
LW Comment – What does ‘Independent’ mean?
This being Tower Hamlets the meaning of even simple terms become complex. Mr Masroor says he is an ‘Independent’ candidate in his electoral material. All well and good.
Question is does this mean ‘Independent’ as in the dictionary definition (free from outside control; not subject to another’s authority) or in the way in which the ex-Tower Hamlets First candidates now use the term to pretend they are all independent councillors when in fact they are nothing of the sort.
Masroor’s campaign launch is to be held this Thursday 27th April 6pm at The Waterlily 68-69 Mile End Road E1 4TT.
The most concrete example of Masroor’s political allegiances will be who shares the platform with him on Thursday.
LW hopes to catch up with Masroor during the next few weeks.