UK news

Fear over Islamist Tower Hamlets mayor

By Martin Bright and Simon Rocker, October 28, 2010

Senior Jewish figures have raised concerns over the election of a controversial Muslim politician as mayor of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

Lutfur Rahman was dropped as the Labour Party's official candidate after evidence was produced of irregularities in the nomination process and links to the radical Muslim group Islamic Forum Europe.

He then stood as an independent and last week trounced Labour rival Helal Abbas, although only a quarter of the electorate turned out to vote. He will now preside over the Olympic borough's £1 billion budget.

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Lloyd Dorfman's £10 million theatre donation

By Jennifer Lipman, October 28, 2010

A Jewish businessman has announced a £10 million donation to the National Theatre.

The gift, from Travelex founder Lloyd Dorfman, will go towards the theatre’s Future redevelopment fund.

Mr Dorfman, 57, has been involved in the National Theatre, on London’s South Bank, for several years and is a member of its board.

The Cottesloe Theatre will be renamed the Dorfman Theatre to mark the donation.

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Take me on? You don’t have the guts

By Jessica Elgot and Jennifer Lipman, October 27, 2010

Nearly 300 members of the far right English Defence League were joined in London on Sunday by an American rabbi for a demonstration planned “to oppose Islamic fascism”.

Speaking outside the Israeli Embassy, Rabbi Nachum Shifren, a supporter of the American Tea Party movement, said he was there as someone “who loves freedom”.

Rabbi Shifren, who is standing for the state senate in California, said: “To all my Jewish brothers who have called me a Nazi…I say to them, they don’t have the guts to stand up here and take care of business.”

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Grant helps Malki find her feet

By Jessica Elgot, October 26, 2010

A strictly Orthodox family have spoken of how a BBC Children in Need grant helped their wheelchair-bound daughter learn to ride a bike.

Malki Gertner, nine, from Hackney also learns swimming and horse-riding with the charity Step-by-Step.

The charity was given a grant of £120,570 over three years to help fund after-school sports for 121 disabled children in the area, aged five to 19.

Malki's mother, Francesca, said the charity was a "life-saver" for her and husband Shloime, a popular Charedi singer, who has released an album with a track entitled Malki's Song.

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Jewish Eastenders star orc slays his way to Hobbit film

By Jennifer Lipman, October 26, 2010

British Jewish actor Robert Kazinsky is on his way to Middle Earth.

Mr Kazinsky, better known to Eastenders fans as Sean Slater, has been named as one of the cast members for the upcoming film of The Hobbit.

Peter Jackson, who directed the Lord of the Rings trilogy, has signed up Mr Kazinsky for two films based on the classic J.R.R. Tolkien novel.

While the other films were made in New Zealand, the prequels are to be shot at a film studio in Watford.

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EDL trio charged after Speakers Corner scuffle

By Jessica Elgot, October 26, 2010

Three English Defence League demonstrators have been charged with affray and public order offences after a scuffle with Muslim hecklers at Speakers Corner.

Shortly after their demonstration on Sunday outside the Israeli Embassy in Kensington, EDL supporters made their way to Hyde Park where Rabbi Nachum Shifren, the so-called "surfing rabbi" from California , gave a short speech.

The rabbi had earlier called Muslims “dogs” and told the EDL “We will never surrender to the sword of Islam."

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Ofcom rejects complaint againt Channel Four investigation into Islamic group

By Simon Rocker, October 25, 2010

The television watchdog Ofcom has rejected complaints against an investigation into an Islamic group broadcast by Channel Four’s Dispatches earlier this year.

The programme, presented by journalist Andrew Gilligan, looked at the Islamic Forum for Europe which it described as a “fundamentalist” group that had “secretly infiltrated” the Labour party and was “exerting influence” over Tower Hamlets Council in East London.

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Chief Rabbi is YouTube hit

By Simon Rocker, October 25, 2010

A video of the Chief Rabbi singing Oseh Shalom has just received its millionth Youtube visitor.

The song, set in a new version by Shabbaton choir director Stephen Levey, was recorded by leading producer Trevor Horn and featured three chazzans as well as children from the Moriah Jewish Day School.

“I’m delighted it has touched so many people,” said Lord Sacks. “It’s a piece of music that has lifted people’s spirits.”

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Harrogate councillor who dressed as Hitler suspended

By Jennifer Lipman, October 25, 2010

A council leader has been suspended from the Conservative party after a photograph of him dressed as Adolf Hitler emerged on Facebook.

Dr Mike Gardner, who was first elected in 1999 and is the leader of Harrogate Borough Council, was pictured giving a Nazi salute at a party in May.

The Harrogate and Knaresborough Conservative Association has de-selected him and will investigate his conduct.

Dr Gardner said the party had been themed around dressing as a figure from the year you were born. He said: "I was born in the war. Hitler was an iconic figure."

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Rabbi Shifren’s speech at the EDL demonstration

October 25, 2010

From the minute I set foot in this country I've had nothing but abuse and I tell you now, I welcome every single bit of it.

To all my Jewish brothers who have called me a Nazi, and have asked why I’m poking my nose into England’s business, I say to them they don’t have the guts to stand up here and take care of business...

"There is only one group in England with moral courage. I wish just one politician had the back bone to stand up and agree, but they’ll never do that because of the Arab petrol dollars...

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