A Labour MP has angered one of her constituents after twice sending him a card celebrating the Islamic festival of Eid even though he is not Muslim.
The Daily Mail reports that Karen Buck, who represents Westminster North, and is an aide to Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, has now admitted that her staff went through the register of electors and picked out people with ‘Islamic’ names – a practice that could breach the Data Protection Act.
Rustom Irani, who is a member of Zoroastrian faith, said that he has now received two Eid cards from her, first in 2009 and again this year. Although she apologised in 2009 and promised it would not happen again, he received another earlier this week.
Mr Irani said: “I was born a Zoroastrian. I’m not anti-Islamic, it’s just that I’m not Muslim. Clearly they have just looked up my name.”
Miss Buck admitted in 2009 that two other constituents had also complained after they received the cards despite not being Muslims.
She wrote to Mr Irani saying: “My offices have no special access to data on resident’s religion. We made an error on the basis of your surname being an Islamic one. For this I again sincerely apologise. The vast majority of the cards sent out via surnames on the electoral register were sent to Muslim households and were welcomed.”
Miss Buck was later warned by the Information Commissioner’s Office that she was at risk of breaking the Data Protection Act and should not send any more of the cards to her constituents “merely on the basis of an assumption about their names”.
Conservative MP Philip Davies told the Mail: “The idea that you can win elections by this kind of vacuous, politically correct, cynical tactic is wrong.
“I rather hope that elections are determined by what you believe in and what you do for your local community. I think many Muslims will find this approach to win votes rather patronising.”