Tower Hamlets politicians have called for the suspended Labour Councillor Mohammed Pappu to resign for his online anti-Semitic comments.
Pappu shared anti-Semitic conspiracy theories on his Facebook account. Some suggest that these could have potentially been viewed by minors as the account was used to publish timings, cancellations and kick-offs for the children’s charity SOUL (Social Organisation for Unity and Leisure) that he was a trustee of.
Pappu, who represents Blackwall and Cubit Town ward, was suspended last week by the party and has resigned from all cabinet posts he holds – these included being in charge of governance scrutiny. He is yet to resign from his position within the ward.
He has also been photographed campaigning with the Tower Hamlets Momentum group in November 2017, in a picture posted to their Facebook titled: “Comrades On The Doorstep”. Jeremy Corbyn also posed with Pappu in a selfie video during the 2018 Labour Party Conference, this was shared on the Tower Hamlets Labour Party Twitter page.
Liberal Democrat Councillor Rabina Khan said: “Labour have failed to properly address bigotry within their party in allowing candidates with these views to stand and hold positions of responsibility within the council.”
“Our residents deserve better than this and deserve the right to elect a new councillor.”
Andrew Woods, the Conservative Councillor for Canary Wharf added: “If the facts are verified I believe Pappu should resign as a councillor. We believe this issue warrants a serious investigation.”
On Twitter, Woods has said that “the main concerns about this issue relate to child safeguarding.” In 2015, four teenage girls from Bethnal Green Academy are thought to have runaway to Raqqa, Syria to join ISIS. Just months later, Pappu shared a meme that accused Britain of bombing Syria to ‘install a Rothschild bank.’
In addition to this, The Times have reported that Pappu also warned that cartoon The Smurfs and Halloween were demonic and Muslim parents should protect their children from a “torment of hell.”
The charity SOUL said Pappu had stepped down from his role with the organisation.
“SOUL has been established for over 15 years now, and works with young people and adults from all different backgrounds, and actively promotes diversity and respect.
“The organisation has never had any issues in regards to safeguarding issues. The main activity of SOUL are football, and through this we help build confidence in young people’s lives.
“We have never or will ever encourage any sort of hatred towards any groups, especially on religious backgrounds.
“We are going through a safeguarding review at the moment, and will be working with other organisations to make sure all our safeguarding are compliant.”
The councillor has apologised unreservedly for his anti-Semitism.
He said in a statement: “I regret having done so and they absolutely do not reflect my views.
“These are posts which I shared at a time when I was developing my political ideas and I accept they paint a picture of conspiracies and political perspectives that do not belong in mainstream politics.
“Tower Hamlets has a great history of standing up for minorities and I can only apologise for my past mistakes.
“I am intending to receive awareness training to gain more understanding on such issues.”
An investigation by the Labour Party into Pappu’s conduct is pending.