Greens confirm probe into new councillor after shout of ‘Allahu akbar’

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Greens confirm probe into new councillor after shout of ‘Allahu akbar’

Chair of the Leeds Jewish Representative Council writes to party leaders about serious concerns over city councillor Mothin Ali

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Green councillor Mothin Ali
Green councillor Mothin Ali

The Green Party has confirmed it is investigating into a newly elected councillor who described his victory as a “win for the people of Gaza”.

The chair of the Leeds Jewish Representative Council had written to the co-leaders of the Green Party following the election of Councillor Mothin Ali onto the city council in last Thursday’s election.

The following day Ali, 42, was also filmed shouting “Allahu akbar” after his election win was confirmed, with supporters raising a Palestinian flag behind him in the video for social media.

The letter from the Leeds Rep Council urged the Greens to address Councillor Ali’s conduct after he was filmed celebrating his victory in Leeds by raising his arm in the air and saying: “We will not be silenced. We will raise the voice of Gaza. We will raise the voice of Palestine. Allahu akbar!”

Simon Myerson KC, chair of the Leeds Rep Council, hcalled on the Green Party’s leaders to “formally suspend” Ali after outlining lengthy concerns about his behaviour in the past, adding “it is wholly wrong that your party should seek to benefit from his views and his behaviour.”

Confirming the probe had been launched on Monday, a Greens spokesperson said:”The Green Party is investigating issues drawn to our attention in relation to Councillor Mothin Ali, so cannot comment further. However, we are clear that we never support anything that extols violence.”

Carla Denyer admitted Ali’s comments were “very concerning.”

Lord John Mann, the government’s independent adviser on antisemitism is also set to intervene over fears the Greens are becoming a party dogged by claims of antisemitism.

Mann confirmed to Jewish News he was meeting the Greens this week “to discuss what they are going to do in reaction to these people and also more widely in their membership and their candidate selections.”

He had been aware of Ali from his involvement in the Leeds University antisemitism issue.

In a statement the Board of Deputies also said on Monday:”We are appalled by comments where Mothin Ali appeared to celebrate and attempt to justify October 7th. The Green Party has serious questions to answer over its utter failure of due diligence, which includes nominating Mr Ali for the role of Leeds Deputy Mayor for Police and Crime Commissioner.”

The Jewish Leadership Council added:”At a time of such division and fear, we need politicians who will work to secure community cohesion, not undermine it. Mr Ali’s record speaks for itself and if the Green Party is serious about dealing with antisemitism rather than just paying lip service to it in meetings with community leaders, action will be taken.”

Labour has raised concerns relating to antisemitism over Green candidates elected in Bristol, while a Peterborough Green councillor has also been accused by the Jewish press of making insulting anti-Israel comments.

Jewish News had also previously reported on concerns over the Greens in relation to antisemitism after the Jewish Labour Movement raised concerns.JLM writes to Green Party leaders raising concerns around antisemitism

In Leeds Ali had previously posted on social media on October 8th last year referring to “White supremacist European settler colonialism” as he appeared to justify the Hamas massacre.

Writing to Green leaders Denyer and Adrian Ramsay, Myerson insisted:”At worst, that tweet was supportive of terrorism. That is more likely to be the interpretation of most people,because the tweet was simply inaccurate.

“To label the Israeli state settler-colonialists is the hyperbolic language of the stupid left. But to label it white is simply wrong: the population of Israel is predominantly non-white.”

Ali had also ranted against Rabbi Zacheria Deutsch, the Jewish chaplain at Leeds University, who was advised by police to go into hiding with his wife and two children after death and rape threats.

Deutsch, a citizen of Israel, was called up as a reservist with the Israeli Defence Forces after October 7th.

Ali, a prolific YouTuber, said on social media: “This creep, that’s the only way I can describe him, is someone who went from Leeds to Israel to kill children and women and everyone else over there.”

His social media response to October 7 had been to say that “Palestinians have the right to resist occupying forces” and viewers should “support the right of indigenous people to fight back”.

In a statement Ali said:”I am sorry for any upset my comments caused about the Gaza conflict. That was not my intention. Like many across the world I have been deeply impacted by the dreadful conflict currently underway in Gaza. The International Court of Justice said this conflict meets the case for plausible genocide.

I do not support violence on either side: violence leads to more violence and this is what I have tried to convey. I have consistently called for an immediate ceasefire and a release of all hostages. I hope to be working with a broad coalition including both the Jewish and Muslim Greens soon to discuss sensible ways for us to work on communicating our shared passion of bringing the conflict to an end.”

He added eing elected to represent “the wonderful community of Gipton and Harehills was one of the proudest moments of my life.”

Ali added:” I should also make clear that it is not unusual for somebody of my faith to use the words ‘Allahu Akbar’ as an expression of gratitude and celebration. Some have sought to misrepresent this and it suggests Islamophobia to me. ”

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