The Scottish Nationalist Party's candidate for the key seat of Glasgow Central in the General Election, Osama Saeed, has attacked his Labour opponent, Anas Sarwar, for his family's alleged connections with Hamas.
Mr Saeed, who founded the Scottish Islamic Foundation, says he has stepped down from his role at SIF in order to concentrate on the election. But he emphasised that his aim as an SNP member and candidate " as it was with SIF, is to promote good relations and community cohesion between all of Scotland’s faiths — something I have pursued most recently through my role in Scotland United which has brought together people of all faiths and parties to oppose peacefully the marches of the English or Scottish Defence Leagues".
Mr Saeed said he found "attacks on synagogues and cemeteries as on mosques or other religious buildings deeply disturbing. It was on my initiative at SIF that we proactively condemned an attack on an Edinburgh synagogue to the point of offering to defend it if need be.
"This was early last year, at what seems the same time as the Glenduffhill incident – we’d have responded the same way had the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities(Scojec)released the pictures then. I would be happy to discuss with ScoJec how we can tackle this serious problem together".
Mr Saeed was ready to agree with Jim Murphy, Secretary of State for Scotland, that "we should not see people of the Jewish faith as one and the same as the Israeli state. The aim of those in the Middle East peace process and the route I support is to achieve a peaceful solution where Israelis and Palestinians live side by side.”
But he could not resist one final dig at his opponent Anas Sarwar, whose father, Mohammed Sarwar is stepping down as the sitting MP. Mr Saeed observed: "I would be interested to see Anas Sarwar's response to his MP father's role on the board of Finsbury Park Mosque, including serving alongside a Hamas supporter".
Mr Saeed was once a spokesman for the Muslim Association of Britain, often seen as Hamas's mouthpiece in the UK. He also recently argued on the Guardian's Comment is Free website for the concept of the global Islamic state, the "Khilafah."