British peer suspended over bounty for Obama, Bush

Lord Nazir Ahmed allegedly offered a £10m. bounty for capture of the current and former US presidents.

By JONNY PAUL JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
April 16, 2012 23:46
3 minute read.
Britain's Lord Nazir Ahmed

Lord Nazir Ahmed 370. (photo credit: Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah / Reuters)

 
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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.

Lord Nazir 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 people.

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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. Bush.”

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.



“We have suspended Lord Ahmed pending investigation.

If these comments are accurate we utterly condemn these remarks which are totally unacceptable,” a spokesman said.

“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 words.

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 against him.

“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 sentence.

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 terrorism.

He threatened to take the organizer of the event to court.

He called the decision not to screen the film a victory for the Muslim community.

In 2005, Ahmed hosted a book launch in the House of Lords for an activist who frequently uses anti-Semitic stereotypes in his work.

Russian-born Israel Shamir claimed that blood libels against the Jews were in fact true and that all political parties were Zionistinfiltrated.

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 crimes.

“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.

“How many 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.

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