Afzal Khan, Labour’s candidate in the Manchester Gorton by-election, is an associate of a radical Islamist who has supported the Taliban, ranted about Jews, defended Osama bin Laden and led funeral prayers for al-Qaeda jihadists. On 22 August 2015, Khan was photographed smiling alongside Siraj ul-Haq from the Pakistani Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami at a UK Islamic Mission event in Manchester.
Back in 2000 ul-Haq reportedly urged the Taliban not to hand over Osama bin Laden to the United States, offering them the support of his party. This is a news report from the time:
“Jamaat-e-Islami has urged Afghanistan’s Taliban not to hand over Saudi national Osama bin Laden to the United States or any other country. The demand was made by Jamaat-e-Islami provincial Secretary General Sirajul Haq in a meeting with the acting Governor of Eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar Maulvi Sadr-e-Azam… Sirajul Haq assured every kind of help and support to the Taliban on behalf of the Jamaat.”
In 2010 Ul-Haq was quoted ranting about “the Jews”:
“The Jews and Christians can not defeat and defame Islam by their hollow threats but they are testing our pulses through sensational announcements across the globe.”
In 2015 Pakistani media quoted ul-Haq peddling anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, including that “Blasphemy is a Zionist plot to disturb peace… Blasphemy should be declared a crime globally and stringent laws should be made in this regard”.
According to a BBC report from 2006, ul-Haq led funeral prayers for 80 alleged Taliban and al-Qaeda militants killed in a bombing raid on a Madrasa in Pakistan. Haq has also opposed Pakistan’s Women’s Protection Act, a law aiming to protect female victims of violence.
Afzal Khan tells Guido in a statement:
“I spend a lot of my time going to community events, meeting people of all faiths, from a broad range of backgrounds. This was one of those events. I do not condone or endorse the views of Siraj-ul-Haq.”
Guido’s Labour Party vetting unit will have more on their extremist-linked Gorton candidate soon…