David Calling

Defending the Indefensible



Nazir Ahmad is the first Muslim immigrant to have been made a member of the House of Lords. Born in Pakistani Kashmir in 1955, he came to Rotherham in Yorkshire at the age of seven, and lives there still. A municipal councilor and Labour Party activist, he was ennobled by Tony Blair in 1998. Ahmad was unknown nationally but Blair liked to imagine that gestures of the kind brought him popularity at no cost and the Muslim vote into the bargain. For Ahmad, this was an honor that ought to have carried responsibility with it.

Ahmad instead has pushed Muslims and everyone else into mutual confrontations. He gave a book launch in the House of Lords for one Israel Shamir, a renegade Jew turned Swedish who builds a literary career by writing disgusting anti-Semitic books. In 2006 Ahmad wrote an open letter to Blair criticizing British foreign policy on the grounds that involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan is criminal. He was very upset when Salman Rushdie became another Muslim to receive a title. Other members of the House of Lords invited Geert Wilders, the Dutch politician, in 2009 to show his film about Muslim extremism, and Ahmad threatened to bring 10,000 Muslims to Westminster to prevent it. The government swiftly caved in and prohibited Wilders, an elected parliamentarian, from entering the country.

Lashkar-e-Taiba is the terror group that killed 166 people in Mumbai. The United States announced a bounty of ten million dollars to whoever brings in its leader, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed. Happening to be in Pakistan, Ahmad responded. It was first reported that he was offering a bounty of ten million pounds to the captor of Barack Obama or George Bush. In fact he was recorded on camera saying something not so very different, “Even if I have to beg I am willing to raise and offer £10 million so that George Bush and Tony Blair can be brought to the International Court of Justice on war crimes charges.” The Labour Party suspended him while investigations are made into this speech.

Ahmad repays the man who ennobled him by asking for that man to be brought to court. This is effectively a defense of terror. Justice for those murdered in Mumbai counts for nothing. Gratitude to Blair and responsibility to the British people are forfeit. A recent David Calling drew attention to David Hume’s observation that good manners are the pre-requisite of democracy. Nazir Ahmad has brought to a head a career of bad manners which makes him an enemy of democracy and all decent people.

David Pryce-Jones — David Pryce-Jones is a British author and commentator and a senior editor of National Review.

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