Muhammad Afzal, the Lord Mayor elect of the UK’s second city, Birmingham, has withdrawn after causing outrage by calling on Muslim to “resist” counter terror laws and allegedly blaming Christians for domestic violence.
The veteran city Councillor and Chairman of Birmingham Central Mosque was set to become Lord Mayor in May, after being selected by Labour Party colleagues around two months ago, on the 12th of January.
However, ten days later he let rip at the government’s new PREVENT counter extremism laws at a so-called ‘anti-racist’ meeting.
He said Prime Minister David Cameron “has too much Islamophobia”, called on Muslims to “resist” the “disgraceful” new legislation, and claimed that there was no evidence that British Muslim are going to fight with Islamic State (IS) in Syria.
He subsequently denied making some of the comments, but a recording released by the Birmingham Mail confirmed he was lying.
Birmingham was around 22 per cent Muslim and 27 per cent Asian at the point of the 2011 census, and there were fears that making someone with such divisive views Mayor would not held community relations.
After exposing Mr. Afzal as a liar, the local paper said ran a comment piece stating that the councillor had “proven himself unfit to be the first citizen of Birmingham”.
Things went from bad to worse for the prospective Mayor on the 28th of January, when Shaista Gohir MBE, chairman of the Muslim Women’s Network UK, accused him of making excuses for violence against women in the Muslim community in an official letter of complaint to the central Mosque.
She slammed Mr. Afzal as “dismissive on the issues of forced marriage and domestic violence” and claimed that he had said that, “domestic violence was happening mainly in the Christian community because they get drunk” in a meeting with her organisation.
She added: “His attitude towards women’s issues make (sic) him unfit for positions of authority in which he should be serving all communities”. She also said they would be complaining to the Charities Commission, pointing out the Central Mosque has 39 male trustees, but not a single woman.