Suicide-bomb backer runs Livingstone campaign

Azzam Tamimi also opposed UK's Muslim Council's decision to end boycott of Holocaust Memorial Day.

livingstone 224 (photo credit: Associated Press)
livingstone 224
(photo credit: Associated Press)
A group trying to mobilize Muslim votes for incumbent Ken Livingstone in next month's London mayoral elections includes an advocate of suicide bombing, a British newspaper revealed on Wednesday. "Muslims 4 Ken" hopes to influence an estimated 200,000 Muslim votes to re-elect Livingstone - who is from the Labor Party - according to the Evening Standard newspaper, and is running a campaign saying Boris Johnson, the Conservative Party's candidate for mayor, is anti-Islam. The group is led by lecturer and anti-war activist Anas Altikriti and Palestinian-born academic Azzam Tamimi, a supporter of Hamas and an advocate of suicide bombing in Israel. While Altikriti says he favors dialogue to further the Muslim cause, he opposed the Muslim Council of Britain's decision to end their boycott of Holocaust Memorial Day last year, saying the council "has failed to consider the plight of the Palestinians" and asking, "Why did the MCB apparently give in to the pressure and vilification of the pro-Zionist lobby?" The Evening Standard report said also that Altikriti was "instrumental" in the Livingstone's patronage of Egyptian Islamic cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who visited the UK at the invitation of the London mayor in 2004, sparking protests from civil rights groups, the Jewish community and the gay community. Qaradawi also supports suicide bombings against civilians. Critics of the mayor say his praise of Qaradawi was part of a cynical plan to exploit the Muslim vote. Qaradawi was banned from entering the UK this year over fears his presence might not be conducive to "security and peace". Tamimi praises suicide bombers, calls for Israel's destruction and even said he would volunteer for a suicide mission. Based in east London, the Muslims 4 Ken lobby has drawn on wide support from the area's Bangladeshi community. Following months of lobbying for Livingstone in mosques and among Muslim community leaders and political organizations, the Evening Standard report says that the lobby group is moving into "overdrive" this week to help Livingstone seek re-election. Meanwhile, Boris Johnson toured northwest London on Sunday to encourage Jewish voters to support his campaign. Organized by Conservative Friends of Israel, Johnson and his campaign team, and other party activists, traveled on a campaign bus around the predominantly Jewish areas of Edgware, Hendon, Golders Green and St. Johns Wood, where he met with Jewish residents and businesses. "The tour gave me the opportunity to meet members of the Jewish community," Johnson said. "Conversations with the countless people I met made it very clear that my policies to crack down on crime, protect our open green spaces and ensure taxpayer value are striking a real chord with Londoners. People desperately want a change for the better in our city, and I am ready to deliver it." "We are delighted with the success of the event and huge turnout of people who came to support of Boris," said Stephanie Leven, CFI projects director. "However it is still important that all those that support him actually go out and make sure they place their vote on May 1."