It is surely a coincidence of almighty proportions that within months of bagging a £10,000 grant from the “Mayor’s Community Chest” fund, the Tower Hamlets Council of Mosques has been able to produce its first ever newsletter in which praise and thanks are offered to our Great and Dear Leader.
[A warning: what you're about to read will never be reported in the Bangladeshi press because they're also the lucky prize-winners from the Mayor's pot of monopoly money (the London Bangla Press Club has been given a £9,000 prize to produce a "business plan").]
The Council of Mosques has a website here and for some reason it seems to have permission from the town hall to use the Tower Hamlets Council logo. This isn’t surprising: they’re very close.
Here’s the newsletter:
Two quotes in particular on p1 stand out:
“I am extremely pleased to announce that 24 mosques and Islamic centres have benefitted from the first round of the Mayor’s Faith Building Fund. I’m sure all faith organisations appreciate the hard work of Mayor Lutfur Rahman in securing the funding for this scheme that will improve the facilities which serve tens of thousands of residents.”
“..special funding is given to the recent funding boost from Tower Hamlets council through the Mayor’s Funding scheme to support faith institutions.”
The second quote is from Hira Islam, secretary general of the Council of Mosques.
Sound familiar? Well, Hira is, as I disclosed here a few years ago, also a heavy-hitter in the Islamic Forum of Europe.
The IFE, you’ll recall, featured heavily in Andrew Gilligan’s Channel 4 Dispatches documentary three years ago when the principal claim was that the group was trying to infiltrate Tower Hamlets Council and to influence Lutfur Rahman into directing town hall grants to its pet projects.
And Hira Islam was the “Mr A” mentioned in that Dispatches documentary, the serving council officer said to be a key figure in Lutfur’s mayoral campaign.
Both claims were mocked by the borough’s large flock of ostriches.
As I detailed here in June, 24 mosques have been given £383,000 out of a total of £600,000 awarded in the first round of the Mayor’s three-year £3million programme to renovate faith buildings with taxpayers’ money. The wealthy East London Mosque has been given £10,000, none of which is going to the needy among its worshippers but instead to polish its sign and to repaint its dome and minaret.
The IFE and the CoM were instrumental in this, holding a large meeting in March to discuss how the funds could be distributed. Helpfully, the Mayor was on hand to explain the process. All above board. See here:
Here are some more of their photos showing how the men at the Council of Mosques decide things:
Did you spot any women in any of those photos? (Maybe that’s why Tower Hamlets
Borough Commander Dave Stringer policeman looked a bit miffed in one of those pictures.)
Here’s the Equalities Impact carried out by the council before the awarded the grants:
A “neutral” effect on gender in the borough apparently.
And here are the two councillors appointed by Lutfur to his Corporate Grants Programme Board, the body which ”advises” which groups receive the money.
Lutfurites Alibor Choudhury and Maium Miah.
Seems they don’t much trust women when it comes to making decisions about money for religious buildings.
Surely if Lutfur truly was committed to equality (as he says he is), he’d have made it a strict condition of these grants that more women have to be involved in running the buildings?
Has he even raised these concerns during his regular meetings of the Council of the Mosques? Maybe he’s not even noticed the lack of women there.