The Labour Party say that a leaflet promoting a sitting councillor on Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council is to be reported to Greater Manchester Police as a ‘hate crime’.
Cllr Aftab Hussain, who has represented the St Mary’s ward, centring around the Glodwick area of the town, since 2016, is seeking re-election alongside graduate lawyer, Aisha Kouser, who is making her local elections debut on 4th May, 2023.
Contacted for comment about the leaflet, Oldham Council Leader, Amanda Chadderton, who is openly gay, said:
“I’m genuinely shocked at the [alleged] homophobic nature of this leaflet in 2023, and we’ll be reporting it to the police as ‘a hate crime’.”
“LGBT+ people exist and telling kids they exist is not some immoral bogeyman the independents are trying to make it out to be.
“I know Oldham is a tolerant and open town and I really hope residents in St Mary’s reject these backwards views.”
“What this shows, though, is just how right-wing the independent movement in Oldham is – and how they’re determined to toxify local politics and turn residents against each other.”
“Oldham Labour is building a better Oldham for all residents, no matter your race, gender, sexual orientation or faith. We will not accept hatred.”
The Liberal Democrats also responded to a similar request for comment; a spokesperson said:
“There’s one councillor amongst the LibDem group who is a member of the LGBT+ community, whilst all of us [LibDems] are, obviously, supporters. As well as being a brilliant councillor for all the people of Crompton, Louie Hamblett is our Health spokesperson”.
A sharp-eyed observer of Full Council meetings might also draw attention to the fact that Cllr Hussain has made an electioneering point of LBQT when not having raised it in the council chamber during the current municipal year, or any other year. A point not covered by either the Labour or LibDem statements.
The Conservative Party in Oldham did not respond to the request for comment.
There is also considerable concern across the Borough regarding Cllr Hussain’s alleged links with an unemployed, Tameside-based conspiracy theorist who is obsessed with his un-evidenced, unproven claim that Labour councillors, paid council officers, the police, safeguarding partners and journalists all conspired together to cover up child sex abuse in the town in return for Asian block votes in wards such as St Mary’s.
Raja Miah’s violent fantasies are well rehearsed with his frequent, and, again, completely un-evidenced reports of murder plots, armed robbers and car-jackings, gang rape, mobsters, gangsters, ‘bent’ taxi drivers, ‘Pakistani Goons’ and ‘Glodwick Goons’. All designed to sow hatred and division in Oldham and line his own pockets from racists and far right activists in his core support group, whom self-style as The Rabble.
Miah claims that the ‘St Mary’s Independents’ (that is to say, Cllr Hussain and Ms Kouser) are part of his ‘Coalition of Independents’ that will stand candidates in this year’s ‘all-out’ elections. A claim that has now been proved, since this article was first published, to be entirely false.
Well respected, connected and regarded in many other aspects of his community and political life, it is uncontroversial to say that Aftab really should know better in regards to that claimed and unfortunate association.
Cllr Hussain and Ms Kouser were offered the courtesy of right of reply.
Responding promptly, Aftab Hussain said:
“Due to a period of recent double bereavement, I did not have much involvement with the design or printing of the leaflet. I apologise for any inadvertent offence caused to Cllr Chadderton and Cllr Hamblett – and any other member of the LBGT community. My record shows that I work hard for my community and will have no part in hatred or division. It should however be pointed out that the leaflet, as published, is in accordance with my Muslim faith. My position is that children and parents should be given the choice as to whether they want their children to pick this subject or not”.
“Any purported connection to Raja Miah, Recusant Nine, The Rabble or his Coalition of Independents is very firmly denounced and Raja has been made aware of that”.
A statement from Aisha Kouser was promised by Cllr Hussain, but did not materialise.
A further statement was made by the Liberal Party spokesperson following the publication of this article: “Cllr Louie Hamblett was surprised, pleased and relieved to receive a call from Cllr Hussain, who apologised for any offence that may have been caused by the leaflet. In a spirit of conciliation, Cllr Hamblett invited Cllr Hussain to be his guest at Oldham Pride this year, which he accepted”.
One prominent Labour Party politician who did not wish to be named said: “Hiding the LGBT community does not make them disappear.
“Being Muslim does not allow you to discriminate against anyone, if anything, Islam provides equal rights.
“Faith is an individual matter between human and God”.
An update to this article has been posted here.
Page last updated Saturday 1st April, 2023 at 1205hrs
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