LONDON – A member of the House of Lords has been suspended by the Labor Party
following reports that he offered a £10 million bounty for the capture of
President Barack Obama and his predecessor, George W. Bush.
Ahmed allegedly made the offer after the US announced a $10 million bounty for
Hafiz Muhammed Saeed, founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the terrorist group blamed by
India for a series of attacks in Mumbai in 2008 that killed 166
Ahmed has denied the allegations.
According to Pakistan’s
Express Tribune newspaper, Ahmed offered the cash for their capture at a
reception in his honor in Haripur, Pakistan, on Friday.
Ahmed, who became
Britain’s first Muslim peer in 1998, reportedly said: “If the US can announce a
reward of $10 million for the capture of Hafiz Saeed, I can announce a bounty of
£10 million for the capture of President Obama and his predecessor, George W.
He said the bounty for Saeed was an “insult to all Muslims” and
that he would arrange the bounty for Obama and Bush “at any cost,” even if it
meant selling his personal assets, including his house.
The Labor Party
moved swiftly and suspended the peer on Sunday evening.
suspended Lord Ahmed pending investigation.
If these comments are
accurate we utterly condemn these remarks which are totally unacceptable,” a
“The international community is rightly doing all in its
power to seek justice for the victims of the Mumbai bombings and halt
terrorism,” the spokesman added.
However, Ahmed, speaking from Pakistan
on Monday, said he had only told the meeting that Bush and former Prime Minister
Tony Blair should be prosecuted for war crimes.
“I never said those
I did not offer a bounty. I said that there have been war crimes
committed in Iraq and Afghanistan and those people who have got strong
allegations against them – Bush and Blair have been involved in illegal wars and
should be brought to justice. I do not think there’s anything wrong with that,”
he said, adding that he was equally concerned that anyone suspected of terrorism
should face justice as well.
He challenged the party to produce evidence
“They have suspended me? That’s a surprise to me. I did not
know,” he told the Press Association on Monday. “If the Labor Party want to
suspend me I will deal with the party.”
The Muslim community leader has
regularly courted controversy.
In 2009 he was jailed for dangerous
driving after sending and receiving text messages minutes before being involved
in a fatal motorway crash. An appeals court later suspended his 12-week jail
In the same year, Ahmed joined forces with a number of
British-based Islamists to sign a letter praising Turkish Prime Minister Recep
Tayyip Erdogan after he walked out of a debate with President Shimon Peres at
the annual Davos Conference in Switzerland.
Following the incident, he
led a delegation to the Turkish Embassy in London to pay tribute to Erdogan for
walking off the stage.
He also reportedly threatened to mobilize 10,000
Muslims that year, to prevent the House of Lords from screening Fitna, a film by
Dutch politician Geert Wilders that claims that Islam sanctions
He threatened to take the organizer of the event to
He called the decision not to screen the film a victory for the
In 2005, Ahmed hosted a book launch in the House of
Lords for an activist who frequently uses anti-Semitic stereotypes in his
Russian-born Israel Shamir claimed that blood libels against the
Jews were in fact true and that all political parties were
In an interview on the Iranian regime’s Press TV
during Operation Cast Lead in the winter of 2008-2009, Ahmed said that Jewish
student groups actively recruited for the IDF. He added that British Jews who
fought in the IDF should be arrested and, if necessary, charged with war
“We know that there are student unions that have been actively
recruiting young people in Britain to join the IDF and we also know that there
are young Jewish students who go and serve on the kibbutz and also in schools,
who are also then doing national service in Israel,” he said.
of those have been involved in war crimes? How many of those have broken the
Geneva Convention? When they come back to this country, we want our government
to take some legal action against them,” Ahmed said.