Muslims voters told to support Labour or risk Allah’s wrath
Muslim voters in Stoke-on-Trent have been urged to vote Labour in an upcoming byelection in order to keep out Ukip’s Paul Nuttall, above, the party’s new leader.
According to The Guardian, the Lib Dems alerted the police after messages sent to some Muslim voters in Stoke-on-Trent suggested they could go to hell if they failed to vote Labour.
The anonymous message, distributed locally to some in the Muslim community by text and Whatsapp, called for people to vote Labour so as not to help “enemies of Islam”.
It said voting for the Lib Dem candidate, Dr Zulfiqar Ali, a Muslim, could help “far-right, anti-Muslim, anti-Islamic Ukip party” take the seat, which is being contested in a byelection triggered by the resignation of Labour MP Tristram Hunt.
It is not known how many people received the message, but the Lib Dems claimed it had been “distributed in large numbers” in support of the Labour candidate, Gareth Snell.
The Lib Dems demanded an apology from Labour on Thursday in a letter to the party’s election agent, copying in the police and Stoke returning officer.
Ian Horner, the Lib Dem election agent, wrote:
I am sure that you realise that the religious nature of one of these messages could also be deemed to be covered by the ruling on ‘undue spiritual influence’ in the matter of a mayoral election for the London borough of Tower Hamlets held on 22 May 2014, when the Labour party were the victims of such tactics.
The party also called on Labour to condemn:
The campaign of misinformation and intimidation currently under way in their name in Stoke-on-Trent.
Labour has said it has no idea who sent the messages. A campaign spokesperson said:
We were not aware of these text messages and we don’t condone the content. The campaign did not sanction the sending of these messages.
The contest is a bitter battle between Labour and Ukip. Nuttall was an early favourite to win but his chances have been dented by questions over his residency in the seat, his failure to name all six pottery towns and after he was forced to admit that claims on his website about losing close friends in the Hillsborough disaster were false.
Snell’s candidacy has also proved controversial after he was forced to apologise for making offensive remarks about women on ITV’s Loose Women. He also backed “remain” in the referendum and suggested Brexit was a “massive pile of shit”, despite Stoke having strongly voted to leave the EU last June.
The message sent to Muslim voters asked “Will you be able to answer for this in the Grave and on the Final Day???” if Nuttall were to win the byelection.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn