September 20 2014 Latest news:
Adam Barnett, Reporter
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Election leaflets urging Muslims in Newham to vote for the Conservative Party and claiming the council is run by gays and atheists are being investigated by police.
One leaflet, delivered to people’s homes, which bears the Conservative Party’s official imprint, says: “If elected we shall help facilitate and cater for the needs of the Muslim community”, and makes 10 “pledges”, including a burial ground for Newham’s Muslims and free parking during Friday prayers.
The leaflet includes translations into Punjabi, Gujarati and Bangladeshi and a picture of a mosque in the background.
Another leaflet, which may not be from the Conservatives, lists what it calls the Labour Party’s failures in the borough, saying: “In senior council positions, there are seven times more gays and three times less ethnic minorities than the resident population.
“The vast majority of council managers describe themselves as atheist.”
It adds: “The mayor has an open anti-faith, pro-atheist agenda.”
Chris Attenborough, a resident from Upper Road, in Plaistow, said: “I’m not a Labour supporter and I’m not gay, but I find it offensive.
“I voted Tory in the last election, but I can’t vote for any party that associates itself with homophobia and stirring up religious hatred.”
Newham Labour Party, which lodged a formal police complaint, called the leaflets “offensive and divisive” and said candidates should distance themselves from such material.
The leaflets follow reports that a fiery Islamic cleric, Mufti Shah Sadruddin, who led a thwarted campaign to build a “mega mosque” in West Ham in 2012, was running as a Conservative candidate for Green Street West ward.
The East Ham Conservative Party declined to comment, as did Tory mayoral candidate Stefan Mrozinski.
Newham police said it was investigating with the MPS Specialist Crime Investigators.