Former Lord Mayor resigns from Labour party
A former Lord Mayor of Bradford has announced his resignation from the Labour party following an initial suspension over alleged anti-Semitic Facebook posts.
Councillor Khadim Hussain, of Keighley Central, wrote to the party on 24th March, outlining his position in response to claims he made offensive comments on social media.
However, he says he did not receive ‘any response or indeed any form of contact’ in over a week and has – in turn – decided to step away from the political group.
In an open letter, he wrote: “With regret, I write to advise you all that I have sent a notice of my formal resignation to the Labour Party.”
Adding: “I am both disappointed and saddened that I did not receive any response or indeed any form of contact from the Labour Party despite my repeated attempts.”
Cllr Hussain had previously shared a number of ‘controversial’ posts, one of which stated that the education system ‘only tells you about Anne Frank and the six million Zionists that were killed by Hitler’, rather than the millions of deaths of Africans.
He said he would not apologise for the comments made, saying they had been misinterpreted by some, and that he remained committed to promoting interfaith relations.
“I make no apology for my stance on issues where I believe human rights or human lives are being compromised,” he continued.
“As I write this letter, around the world acts of terrorism and social injustice are trivialising the value of human life and as a public servant and more importantly a human being who strongly believes in social justice and equality, it is my professional and personal obligation to stand side by side with those who continue to suffer.
“Throughout my career I have strived to stand with the marginalised and have opposed discrimination of any form.”
Cllr Hussain will now run as an Independent councillor in the next upcoming local elections.
Freedom of speech lost?
Following the suspension of Cllr Khadim Hussain, the line separating freedom of speech and discriminatory language has only been distorted further.
A quick review of the Keighley councillor’s record as Lord Mayor of Bradford shows a clear commitment to building interfaith relations.
Not only did he attend a ‘Labour Friends of Israel’ meeting with former MP Ann Cryer, but he also launched an Anne Frank event in City Hall to raise further awareness of the atrocities the Jewish faith have faced.
Despite such actions, he was still labelled anti-Semitic due to two poorly worded Facebook posts.
Compare this to American politics, where one Donald Trump seemingly continues to push the limits of Freedom of Speech every week and Cllr Hussain’s comments appear, although still controversial, to be inappropriate.
Trump has made his views clear on immigration yet focuses a lot of attention on specific religions.
He has called for a complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States, and claims to have seen thousands of New Jersey Muslims cheering as the Twin Towers collapsed following the 9/11 terror attacks.
His words are cheered by his fans and laughed at by others due to their absurdity.
Does freedom of speech change its definition midway across the Atlantic or is the challenge of standing up against a bigger entity, such as Trump, just too big to take on?