The solicitor who represented Isis bride Shamima Begum in her unsuccessful legal bid to retain British citizenship greeted October 7 as the moment when “the option of settler colonisation just got taken off the table”.
Mohammed Tasnime Akunjee, who is standing as an independent against Labour in Bethnal Green at the coming general election because of its support for Israel, went on to share posts claiming many of Hamas’ victims were in fact killed by Israel.
Earlier this month he also appeared to back a claim by the extreme right-wing former British National Party leader Nick Griffin that prominent Jews had offered him money to “target” Muslims.
In a post on X dated January 4, he wrote that he had held “an interesting and candid discussion with Nick Griffin… evidencing the fact that certain foreign paid shills were intent on fomenting violence between communities in the UK”. Accompanying this post was a photograph of himself talking to Griffin, and between the words “foreign” and “shills” he place an Israeli flag emoji.
Akunjee announced his decision to run against Rushanara Ali, the Labour MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, on Tuesday. He said she had “refused to say anything that would end the horror” of the Gaza war or vote for an immediate ceasefire, and had become “a puppet on a string for Keir Starmer to control”.
The constituency includes the once-largely Jewish areas of Stepney and Whitechapel and now has a large Muslim population which, like both Ali and Akunjee, is largely of Bangladeshi heritage.
Akunjee said that like the former Labour MP Oona King, Ali had “lost touch” with her community by abandoning the Palestinian cause, and that he could unseat her in the same way that the outspoken pro-Palestinian Respect party leader George Galloway defeated King in 2005.
Research by the open-source intelligence unit GnasherJew has revealed that Akunjee has a history of inflammatory posts on social media.
He has repeatedly used the term “Zio” when referring to supporters of Israel, and in 2016 posted a claim purporting to quote a Holocaust survivor that while “an antisemite used to be a person who disliked Jews, now it is a person Jews dislike”. In 2021, he described criticism of Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of antisemitism allegations as “a Zionist orchestrated madness”, and said Keir Starmer’s “strings are being pulled by a small controversial country in the Middle East”.
Akunjee posted his statement on X about the Hamas massacre showing “settler colonisation” was now “off the table” on the evening of October 7, by which time it was clear that huge numbers of civilians had been brutally murdered.
He went on to share a claim that “the evidence is overwhelming: Israel mowed down hundreds of its own civilians on October 7”, and a video that he said showed Israeli helicopters firing on Jewish civilians.
Asked about the posts, Akunjee said he would be “happy to talk about Muslim/Anglo/Jewish relations and particularly about joint faith schools as a step in the right direction for community cohesion”, but did not wish to respond to what he called “the machinations of internet trolls”, which he said did not “fit the criterion of journalism”.