UK's first Muslim mayor accused of intimidating voters

Lutfur Rahman’s opponents claim his campaigners told voters it would be 'un-Islamic and sinful' not to vote for him
Lutfur Rahman, newly elected mayor of Tower Hamlets. (Getty Images)
By Staff writer
Wed 20 Aug 2014 01:25 PM

A Muslim mayor in London has been accused of intimidating voters by allowing his supporters to tell them that backing his rivals would be “un-Islamic and sinful”, according to The Daily Mail.

The newly elected mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, threatened council staff and bribed religious groups to gain their support, documents filed at the High Court claim.

Tower Hamlets, in East London, is home to one of the city’s largest and most popular mosques and about one-third of the population is Muslim.

Rahman, the first Muslim Mayor in the UK, allegedly told constituents that voting for him would be a “virtuous and Islamic act” and threatened his opponents with punishment in the afterlife.

The independent Social democrat lead a “systematic campaign of intimidation” as well as widespread postal vote fraud to ensure victory against his Labour rival in May’s election, the legal dossier claims, according to The Daily Mail.

The 70-page dossier has been lodged by four petitioners seeking to have his election annulled.

They claim Rahman knew of his campaigners’ corrupt behaviour but did not prevent it and was therefore guilty of corruption. Rahman denies the allegations.

His Labour rival John Biggs has been branded “racist” in local Bangladeshi-language newspapers.

A spokesman for Mr Rahman told the Evening Standard: “The allegations filed with the court yesterday don’t come as a surprise.

“They repeat allegations made before and which have never been proven, despite thorough investigations by the Metropolitan Police and Electoral Commission. We look forward to vigorously contesting them in court.”

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