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Lutfur Rahman, un socialista

2010-11-20
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Lutfur Rahman, microsindaco di Tower Hamlets, è “onorato di essere stato il primo Sindaco di Tower Hamlet a elezione diretta” (2010).

L’East End è un’area di Londra abbastanza “multikulti” da aver scelto senza grosso clamore un uomo nato in Bangladesh.

Anche perché quell’uomo è vissuto a Tower Hamlets per la maggior parte della sua vita.

Proviene dal labour, dal quale si è però allontanato – essendosi trovato più a sinistra – qualche tempo fa per correre da solo.

Le  elezioni le cose sono andate che ha vinto lui con 23,283 voti contro 11,254 voti del candidato laburista, 5,348 del candidato conservatore, 2,800 del liberaldemocratico, 2,300 del verde.

La sua bio “professionale” (di base è un avvocato) lo dipinge come un personaggio di profilo istituzionale e di instancabile attivismo.

Il suo programma, col quale ha vinto le elezioni, individua le priorità in questi cinque campi:

  1. Casa
  2. Educazione
  3. Lavoro
  4. Sicurezza
  5. Pulizia

Leggendo questa intervista di NeStatesman si capisce subito che Lutfur è tutto sommato un moderato che, tuttavia, vuole fare qualcosa davvero per la sua comunità.

Ma si capisce anche che è oggetto di un attacco politico abbastanza pesante.

I sindaci di destra dei boroughts vicini non vogliono avere a che fare con lui.

I suoi ex compagni di partito lo hanno accusato di aver tradito la disciplina di partito (non lo volevano candidare e lui si è candidato lo stesso).

Altri hanno diffuso accuse (non verificate) su di lui (ora sembra che il Labour rivoglia Lutfur indietro, vedremo come va a finire).

Viene accusato di privilegiare “gli asiatici” e in particolare i bengalesi.

E, last but not least, viene accusato di avere legami con gruppi musulmani radicali.

Sì, Lutfur Rahman è il primo sindaco musulmano di Gran Bretagna e ciò rimarrebbe solo un dettaglio statistico se non fosse per la campagna mediatica orchestrata contro di lui dagli islamofobi made in GB.

E’ per questo che l’ultima parte dell’intervista che ho citato sopra e che riporto qua sotto riguarda il suo rapporto con l’islam:

How important is your Islamic faith to you?
I am a proud Muslim. I am glad that my values have come from Islam. But I am also glad that Labour Party values have given me great strength over the past 20 or 25 years. Go and speak to people of Tower Hamlets, the people who voted for me, who voted for someone they believe is a pluralist and can serve them well and serve them equally.

Are you a member of the much-criticised Islamic Forum of Europe?
I am not a member of the Islamic Forum of Europe. I have never been a member.

But you do have close contacts with the group?
I have close contacts with the chair of the Tower Hamlets Inter Faith Forum, with rabbis, with the Bishop of Stepney, with people who are of no faith. The IFE is one group among many. As leader of this council, I will work with each and every member of the community, whether they are Sikh, Hindu, Muslim, Jew, Christian or people of no faith.

Is the IFE an extremist group?
I don’t believe we have extremist groups in Tower Hamlets. If so, I am sure the government and the police would have intervened long and ago. I will work with anyone who adheres to civil society, to democracy, to the progressive values of this council. I believe that previous leaders have worked with the IFE and other such organisations and some previous leaders are on record as having funded such faith groups. If there was nothing wrong with working with such groups then, why now?

Do you support a caliphate, here or elsewhere?
I believe in a social-democratic society. I believe in a society where, through a democratic process, representatives are chosen and elected.

Do you believe sharia law should be incorporated into British law?
I am a lawyer and I was invited to the London Muslim Centre [in July 2008] when the then chief justice, Lord Phillips, came to speak and said that there are merits in learning from certain aspects of sharia law, to help our legal system. Not the penal elements; the family and civil elements. If the chief justice can make those comments, who am I to disagree?

Should the gay population of Tower Hamlets be worried by your victory?
During my opening speech as mayor, in front of the full council, I made it quite clear that I want to serve each and every member of my community, including the gay and lesbian community. It is not for me to make value judgements. I want to work with every member of the community, whatever their sexual orientation. I grew up with people in the East End from all backgrounds, black, white, gay, and many of them are still my mates.

Did Tower Hamlets town hall, on your watch, allow CDs of a Muslim preacher who has allegedly justified wife-beating to be handed out to visitors?
That did happen but it has been stopped and the chief executive has clear instructions from me not to let that happen again. It did not happen with his approval or my approval. And I assure you nothing of that sort will happen with my approval. But you can’t control things that happen without your knowledge.

Can you explain what links, if any, you have to Saudi Arabia and your trips to that country? How were they funded?
It is an obligation, as a Muslim, to do the pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. I haven’t done the Hajj but I have had the good fortune of going on Umra [the lesser pilgrimage]. I have been on Umra four or five times. I went to Saudi Arabia on Umra during my council leadership at my own expense, on a private trip. As a Muslim you are not allowed to take money from anyone else, if you have the means, to go and pay your respects to Allah and go to the Kaaba [in Mecca].

Would you say you are a secularist? A secular politician?
My whole political upbringing has been about clear diving line between my faith and my politics. I believe in a civic, social democratic society.

Do you believe in a secular Britain?
I do. I live in a society based on a clear division of powers between the church and the state. Yes, I absolutely believe in a secular society.

Ecco, spero di essere stato chiaro.

E ora leggetevi questo.

—-

p.s. manco da molto, ma amo l’East End (sfortunatamente tifo per il West Ham, fra l’altro) e consiglio a tutti di andarci a fare un giro. Whitechapel col suo piccolo museo. E soprattutto Brick Lane (e dintorni) col suo mercato, i suoi ristoranti indiani, il suo negozio di panini al salmone, i suoi atelier (non so come e quanto si siano evoluti ma quando ci andai l’ultima volta non erano male).

 

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