A peer who left the Labour party after allegedly making claims of a ‘Jewish conspiracy’ was at the launch of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslims’ report on defining Islamophobia.
Lord (Nazir) Ahmed quit the party before he was due to appear before a disciplinary panel in 2013 for appearing to blame a “Jewish conspiracy” for his prison sentence following a fatal motorway crash.
He later insisted he did not recall making the alleged comments, and his solicitor Stephen Smith said he would not be able to receive a “fair trial” from the Labour panel.
Lord Ahmed was suspended from the Labour Party in March 2013 after The Times reported that he blamed his 2009 prison sentence – for sending text messages shortly before his car was involved in a fatal crash – on pressure placed on the courts by Jews “who own newspapers and TV channels”.
The peer allegedly told an Urdu-language broadcaster in Pakistan that the judge who jailed him for 12 weeks was appointed to the High Court after helping a “Jewish colleague” of Tony Blair during an important case.
Mr Smith questioned the reliability of the evidence against Lord Ahmed, saying: “The evidence is flawed, in my view it is unreliable and yet they seem to be accepting it as right. In those circumstances I don’t think he can get a fair trial.”
Lord Ahmed said he was “very disappointed” with the way he had been treated by Labour.
He said: “I don’t want to appear before any kangaroo court where the rules of justice have been denied. All I want is any evidence in front of me so I can look at it and defend myself. I can’t defend myself if there is no evidence produced.”
Lord Ahmed said he had “never been antisemitic” and had “unreservedly apologised” for any offence caused to the Jewish community.
We are proud to be launching our latest report #IslamophobiaDefined with a working definition of Islamophobia.
— British Muslims (@APPGBritMuslims) November 27, 2018
The report, Islamophobia Defined, found that “prevalent” hatred towards Muslims was driving division, hate crime and even terror attacks.
“British society at large, by virtue of normalised prejudice against Muslim beliefs and practice, have come to imbibe a panoply of falsehoods or misrepresentations and discriminatory outlooks,” the report said.
Ilford MP Wes Streeting, a member of the APPG who was at the launch, told the Jewish News: “Our report aims to break new ground in understanding and tacking Islamophobia. Our report, which proposes a new working definition of Islamophobia, drew inspiration from the IHRA definition on tacking antisemitism.
“I hope that will not be lost on those who attended our event and readers of our report. Though they manifest themselves in different ways, as I said at the launch, Islamophobia and antisemitism are different sides of the same coin. One cannot be a champion for equality without resolving to tackle all forms of prejudice.”