A newly elected Labour councillor worked for a controversial group which called Isis killer Jihadi John a “beautiful young man” - and he even defended the sickening description while speaking to MPs, the JC can reveal.
Ibrahim Ali won a seat in Haringey in north London earlier this month - but only now has it emerged that he was employed full time by CAGE, a group which critics have condemned as “apologists for terror”.
In 2015, Mr Ali defended the description of Jihadi John as a “beautiful young man” while speaking to a Parliamentary committee.
Mr Ali has now been suspended by Labour pending an investigation.
The revelation leaves the party facing a vetting crisis after another councillor was suspended earlier this month for sharing “antisemitic” posts.
It also threatens the fragile trust in Keir Starmer’s leadership of Jewish voters who had fled the party in the Corbyn era.
Just a week ago, Milton Keynes councillor Ansar Hussein was suspended by Labour after the JC exposed allegedly antisemitic social media posts about Israel.
To add to Labour’s embarrassment, Mr Ali – also known as Ibrahim Mohamoud – acted as shadow foreign secretary David Lammy’s agent during the 2019 general election.
According to a party source, Mr Lammy had “no idea” about Mr Ali’s statements that have come to light following his election, and will be awaiting the outcome of the investigation.
In addition, Mr Ali is the secretary of his Constituency Labour Party in Tottenham.
Mr Ali joined CAGE as its communications officer in 2015. In November that year, he gave evidence to the Commons select committee on Home Affairs, and was asked about the notorious claim by the group’s research director, Asim Qureshi, that Jihadi John – real name Mohammed Emwazi – was a “beautiful young man”, despite being shown in ISIS videos beheading hostages with a serrated knife.
Mr Ali defended Mr Qureshi’s claim, pointing out that Emwazi’s schoolteachers had described him as “hard working, a lovely boy, and a “very hard working aspirational young man”. He said that Mr Qureshi’s comments did not refer to “the person he became and the acts he committed”.
Mr Ali has campaigned against the government’s counter-extremism programme, Prevent – which began under Tony Blair and which Labour continues to support.
Mr Ali has claimed it is “Islamophobic”. At one event in 2016, the Islamophobia Conference, he was a speaker, claiming that Prevent was fostering an “environment of hate and the police state”.
The conference was sponsored by the pro-Iranian Islamic Human Rights Commission and the hard left Stop the War Coalition, formerly led by Jeremy Corbyn.
CAGE were described as “apologists for terror” in 2015 by then London Mayor Boris Johnson after the group blamed MI5 for the radicalisation of Jihadi John.
Mr Lammy has yet to respond to the JC’s request for comment.
Mr Ali has been approached for comment.