Tories suspend ‘Synagogue of Satan’ candidate

Lancashire council candidate Mohammed Riaz’s inflammatory Facebook posts date back to 2014


The Conservative Party has suspended a local election candidate in Lancashire after the JC informed the local MP that he had shared a link to a video about a “synagogue of Satan” alongside what appeared to be an antisemitic blood libel.

Among the posts by Mohammed Riaz, who until Thursday morning was standing for the Tories in the Netherton ward in Hyndburn, was a link to a video on extreme right-wing US website Tru News, which featured a reference to a synagogue above a picture of children being sacrificed.

Hyndburn’s Tory MP, Sara Britcliffe, who is also the party’s deputy chair responsible for campaigns and candidates, appeared in an online video earlier this week in which she described Mohammed as a “fantastic candidate”, and they were pictured together canvassing.

Contacted by the JC on Thursday morning, Britcliffe said she was “horrified” to learn of his posts, and had “no idea” he harboured such views. Less than two hours later, he was suspended by Conservative Central office, pending an investigation.

When Riaz announced his candidacy on his Facebook page on 19 March, he wrote that he had “a passion for community service” and was determined to “a more inclusive and thriving community for all residents”.

However, several inflammatory posts can be found on the same page dating back to 2014. He claimed that one video he posted showed how “this Jewish girl is encouraged to hit this Palestinian child by her parents”, urging his followers to share it with the friends so “they can see the reality of everyday life in Palestine”.

Another post displayed a photo of the anti-Israel sect Neuterei Karta, commenting that there was “a difference between true Jews and Zionist Jews”.

His posts linking to clips issued by Tru News included one that said, “American politicians are bought and paid for by Israel” and that “true conservatives need to wake up and stop supporting these fakes”.

Graham Jones, Labour’s parliamentary candidate in the constituency of which Netherton is a part, was suspended by his party in February after the Guido Fawkes website published a recording of a party meeting in which he spoke of “f***ing Israel” and said Britons who volunteered for the IDF should be “locked up”.

Azhar Ali, the Labour candidate in the recent by-election in nearby Rochdale was also dropped after claiming at the same meeting that Israel had deliberately allowed Hamas to attack on October 7 in order to create a pretext for invading Gaza.

Riaz did not respond to a request for comment.

A Tory spokesman told the JC: “This individual has been suspended pending investigation. The Conservative Party has an established code of conduct and formal processes where complaints can be made in confidence. This process is rightly confidential.”

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