Local residents in the London borough of Newham have raised concerns after a new Conservative Party flyer was handed out today outside local mosques during Friday prayers.
The leaflet seen by Breitbart London features a prominent picture of a mosque and declares, “If elected, [Conservatives] shall help facilitate and cater for the needs of the Muslim community” as well as listing 10 reasons why local Muslims should vote for the party over the dominant Labour incumbency.
The leaflet bears the election imprint of the local party agent Chris Buckwell, who confirmed to Breitbart London that the “sectarian” leaflets, which have Urdu, Gujurati and Bengali translations on the back, were genuine.
The text claims the local Tories, who have already been reported as being from a variety of different political backgrounds, would give two hours of free parking for all residents during Friday prayers, respect religious beliefs when making planning decisions, and oppose further betting shops in Newham.
The policies are thought to be a reaction to the increasing Muslim population in the area. The 2011 census results showed that the area had just 16.7 percent White British people living there, and over 13 percent Indian, 10 percent Pakistani, 12 percent Bangladeshi, and 12 percent Black African. Newham also has the highest fertility rate in the whole of the United Kingdom.
But the Labour Party has become increasingly unpopular in recent years, despite controlling every seat on the council and the mayoralty. Under Mayor Sir Robin Wales, the council has wasted £111m on a project to relocate its own offices to the high-end 1000 Dockside complex and opposed the building of a “mega mosque” also known as the London Markaz in the area. As a result – his popularity is at rock bottom.
But the Tories have been accused of playing the politics of religion, and even bribery with their promise of free parking for mosque-goers. Tory agent Chris Buckwell was unapologetic, and told Breitbart London, “We are appealing to the Muslim community, as we appeal to other communities in other areas. We have no apology for this.”
Asked about his council candidates’ backgrounds, he admitted, “We have had ex-Respect [Party] candidates for years… we have a former Respect Mayoral candidate for Newham, former Liberal Democrats, a former independent… we are all friends together”.
Another leaflet, not confirmed to be created by the Conservative Party themselves, highlights a number of issues that might be of concern to the local Muslim population, in addition to echoing the Conservatives’ concerns over gambling”. It reads: “I don’t support the Tories in their national policies, but locally, here in Newham, they are our best bet to stop the Labour cartel that’s killing our community and kids. That’s why, after 19 years, I will be voting Conservative on 22nd May.”
The leaflet has been described as “homophobic” by Twitter users who have highlighted its section called “Representation Fail” which states: “We have one of the biggest council/resident mismatches in the country. In senior council positions, there are 7 times more gays and 3 times less ethnic minorities than the resident population. The vast majority of council managers describe themselves as atheist while Newham is the most religious borough in the UK. A gay council boss and councillor have even been caught with their pants down in Wanstead Flats”.
Buckwell told Breitbart London that he had not seen or heard of the leaflet, and that many third party individuals and organisations had been taking it upon themselves to produce literature for the elections.
One local resident who wished to remain anonymous told Breitbart London: “I just think the local Tories must be desperate if they are doing deals with Respect candidates and pandering in this way. I think they know local people are furious over things like the bedroom tax and they face being embarrassed at the polls.
“I was just shocked when I saw the leaflet. When I saw the outline of the mosque on it, it just reminded me of the sort of sectarian thing you see in Tower Hamlets. I don’t want the same extremism and divisive politics in our borough, and I certainly don’t expect it from the Tories. I thought it was a spoof when I first saw it”.
Another resident added, “It’s almost as if they’ve been infiltrated”.
Yesterday Breitbart London reported that the local Conservative Party has selected Mufti Shah Sadruddin as its candidate for mayor. Mr Sahdruddin was formerly a member of George Galloway’s Respect Party, and is a leading advocate for the area’s “mega mosque”.
In 2006, Newham Conservatives lined up alongside the Islamic Forum of Europe, the Islamic Society of Britain, CagePrisoners, Hizb ut Tahrir, the Islamic Human Rights Commission, the Muslim Association of Britain and the Muslim Public Affairs Committee, as well as Stop the War in opposing counter-terrorism raids in the area. All of the so-called “Muslim” organisations mentioned above have had links to radical Islam, or in some cases, terrorism. None are considered to be genuinely representative of Britain’s Muslim communities.
Breitbart London has contacted Conservative Party Headquarters who have said they are currently investigating the matter following our communication.