London Citizens stand by their man
London Citizens, the "community organisers" feted by Ed Miliband and David Cameron, has chosen to stand by a trustee who expressed his support for Hamas.
The issue was raised with the board of London Citizens at the end of June, after video footage emerged of Junaid Ahmed, the deputy chair of the organisation, expressing his support for Hamas fighters at the height of Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.
During the event in January 2009 in east London, Mr Ahmed said: "Every single resistance fighter is an example for all of us to follow. And every child that dies, we wish our children would be in that similar position who would wake up and realise the aggression that is taking place amongst the believers."
London Citizens issued a statement at the time indicating that it did not view Mr Ahmed's comments as promoting or condoning terrorism. Mr Ahmed serves on the London Citizens board as a representative of East London Mosque.
‘We have a group of elders to advise on issues’
He is also a trustee of Islamic Forum Trust, the charitable arm of Islamic Forum of Europe, a community organisation which encourages "spiritual and social renewal" through the promotion of Islamic values.
A Dispatches programme broadcast in March 2010 suggested that IFE had a radical Islamist agenda and played an important role in the election of George Galloway as MP for Bethnal Green and Bow.
The organisation has also been connected with the rise of Lutfur Rahman to the leadership of Tower Hamlets Council, and his subsequent election as mayor of Tower Hamlets.
London Citizens said this week that it had introduced a broader code of conduct for trustees and set up an informal group of "elders" to advise on divisive and controversial issues. It added that it stood by its original statement in support of Junaid Ahmed and that he remained a trustee of the organisation.