Woman who said Grenfell victims ‘burnt alive in Jewish sacrifice’ guilty of race hate

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Woman who said Grenfell victims ‘burnt alive in Jewish sacrifice’ guilty of race hate

Tahra Ahmed, 51, was convicted over  social media posts days after the fire, on two counts of publishing written material in order to stir up racial hatred.

Defendant Tahra Ahmed (Image: Facebook)
Defendant Tahra Ahmed (Image: Facebook)

A woman who claimed on Facebook that Grenfell Tower victims were “burnt alive in a Jewish sacrifice” has been found guilty of stirring up race hate.

Tahra Ahmed, 51, posted “virulently” antisemitic conspiracy theories on social media, with one sent just days after the fire in West London that claimed the lives of 72 people.

An Old Bailey jury deliberated for eight hours to find her guilty – by a majority of 11 to one – of two charges of stirring up racial hatred by publishing written material.

During the trial, prosecutor Hugh French said Ahmed’s posts in January and June 2017 had “crossed the line as to what is acceptable in a liberal society”.

On June 18 2017 – four days after the disaster – she posted a video on Facebook of the blaze and referred to it as a “Jewish sacrifice”.

She stated: “I’ve been at the scene, at the protest and at the community meetings and have met many of the victims…some who were still in the same clothes they escaped in.

“They are very real and genuine, their pain and suffering is raw and deep and their disgusting neglect by authorities continues.

“Watch the footage of people trapped in the inferno with flames behind them.

“They were burnt alive in a Jewish sacrifice.”

Ahmed went on to link Grenfell to an antisemitic conspiracy surrounding the 9/11 terror attacks in New York in 2001.

An earlier post, on January 26 2017, also set out an antisemitic conspiracy theory, jurors were told.

Police launched an investigation after a story was published in The Times newspaper on December 11 2017, focusing on some of those who attended public meetings after the fire.

An examination of Ahmed’s Facebook account revealed a history of antisemitic comments, the court heard.

Mr French said that, while Ahmed’s Facebook account demonstrated “strongly held beliefs”, the two posts identified were “clear demonstrations of racial hatred”.

The prosecutor said: “Looking at the language of the posts, the crude racial stereotyping and the insulting tone, the Crown say that you can infer that she posted them either intending to stir up racial hatred (or) that racial hatred was likely to be stirred up.”

Mr French told jurors that people sometimes expressed “outspoken” or “offensive” views on social media and were entitled to their opinions.

But there was a limit, and the right to express views had to be balanced with the rights of other people, often minority communities, to live without being stigmatised or abused, he added.

Ahmed, from Tottenham, North London, denied wrongdoing, arguing her posts were political rather than antisemitic.

She made no reaction in court as the jury delivered its verdicts on Friday.

Judge Mark Dennis adjourned sentencing until February 11.

Ordering a pre-sentence report and allowing Ahmed continued bail, he said: “All sentencing options are open. Nothing must be read into that one way or another.”

Tahra’s post

According to the CST, the prosecution said posts on Ahmed’s Facebook account “revealed a history of antisemitic comments and propagation of a number of conspiracy theories”, including references to the Holocaust and 9/11.

The CST made a formal complaint to the police about Ahmed’s post, and Mark Gardner, its chief executive “subsequently provided a series of witness statements for the prosecution case, explaining the antisemitic and grossly offensive nature of Ahmed’s comments.”

Dave Rich of CST told Jewish News: “Tahra Ahmed’s claim that the Grenfell fire was a ‘Jewish sacrifice’ is one of the most despicable antisemitic slurs I have ever heard. Grenfell was a terrible tragedy and for her to exploit it to promote her vile hatred of Jewish people is beyond belief. It is absolutely right that she has been held accountable for her actions. Tahra Ahmed left nobody in any doubt about her twisted worldview when she gave evidence herself. It was an antisemitic stream of consciousness full of abusive, hurtful and utterly false claims about Judaism and Jewish people. She is in a long tradition of antisemites who claim that they are ‘only’ criticising the religious teachings of the Talmud, or Zionist politics, or some mysterious secret cabal, but really it is all just a way of dressing up old-fashioned hatred of Jews.”

A police investigation into Ahmed’s activities arose as a result of a story published in The Times newspaper on December 11 2017 focused on some of the people who attended public meetings after the Grenfell fire.

Following the verdict at the Old Bailey, Gideon Falter, Chief Executive of Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “Tahra Ahmed sought to twist the Grenfell Tower tragedy to fit her venomous world view in which it seems that any evil can be attributed to Jews. She used people’s suffering and anger in the aftermath of the Grenfell tragedy and tried to wield it as a weapon against Jews before an audience of tens of thousands on social media.

“We are pleased that the jury has convicted her over her wicked fabrications. As we have seen, her hatred has not only enabled her to abuse the Grenfell tragedy, but also to accuse Jews of being responsible for 9/11 and of supposedly exaggerating the Holocaust. As the prosecution observed, she used her position as an aid volunteer in the aftermath of Grenfell to ‘bait the mob’ against Jewish people, making her conduct particularly repulsive.”

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