Outrage as Newly Elected UK Councillor Screams 'Allahu Akbar'

A political party in the United Kingdom will be investigating its newly-elected councilor after he sparked backlash for making a speech celebrating his victory in a recent election, where he reportedly shouted “Allahu Akbar” (or God is the greatest in Arabic) and allegedly proclaimed that his election win is “for the people of Gaza.

Mothin Ali of the Green Party celebrated his victory after winning over 3,000 votes, electing him as a new councilor for the Gipton and Harehills in the English city of Leeds. But his election win soon became a center of controversy after the 42-year-old candidate delivered his victory speech on May 3rd, arguing that people are “fed up” of being “let down” by a Labour council and concluded: “We will not be silenced. We will raise the voice of Gaza. We will raise the voice of Palestine. Allahu Akbar!

A video of him delivering his victory speech in front of a Palestinian flag was uploaded on his TikTok account and went viral. Ali is one of dozens of candidates who ran on a Gaza ticket and, in doing so, defeated their rivals after the recent local elections in the United Kingdom.

The controversy came after videos of Ali, who also worked as an accountant before his election, were uploaded on social media following the October 7 attacks, where he said that Israel will “use the pretext of the fightback by Hamas fighters or supposedly Hamas fighters this morning.

The father of three, who also runs a gardening blog in his spare time, also described Gaza as the “biggest concentration camp the world has ever seen,” and he supported "the right of indigenous people to fight back,” referring to the Palestinians. Before being elected as councilor, Ali reportedly described Israel as a “settler, colonial, occupier” that has tried to “erase the legitimacy of a native population.

It’s one of the last European colonies in the world, and that’s why the European people don’t want to let it go. They use the weapon of anti-Semitism so effectively that anyone who criticizes Israel is labeled as anti-Semitic.” Ali allegedly said. 

Ali had previously been under heavy scrutiny after he called Rabbi Zecharia Deutsch, who served as a Jewish chaplain for many British universities, including the University of Leeds, a "creep" and a "kind of animal" after pro-Palestinian supporters forced him into hiding.

In a statement, a Green Party spokesperson told the British news outlet The Telegraph that the party is “investigating issues drawn to our attention in relation to Councillor Mothin Ali, so cannot comment further,” adding that they “are clear that we never support anything that extols violence.” His remarks also sparked outrage from Leed’s Jewish community, who called for him to be suspended

Simon Myerson KC, the Leeds Jewish Representative Council chair, responded to Ali’s speech and wrote to Green Party co-leaders Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay, amplifying calls for suspension.

"It is 48 hours since he was elected, and your silence has now gone past the time during which - I accept - you must have been considering how exactly you cope with the disastrous effect of the video of his behavior at his count," Myerson said, adding that he believed it was "wholly wrong" if the party "should seek to benefit from his views and his behavior.”

Ali released a statement on May 6th responding to the backlash. In it, he apologized for his remarks and even clarified his use of “Allahu Akbar” during his victory speech. 

"I am sorry for any upset my comments caused about the Gaza conflict. That was not my intention. Like many across the world, I have been deeply impacted by the dreadful conflict currently underway in Gaza.” Ali said in his statement, adding that he does not “support violence on either side: violence leads to more violence, and this is what I have tried to convey."

He also said he hoped to work with “both the Jewish and Muslim Greens soon to discuss sensible ways for us to work on communicating our shared passion of bringing the conflict to an end." Ali also added that it’s “not unusual” for Muslims to use the phrase “Allahu Akbar” as “an expression of gratitude and celebration,” adding that any misrepresentation of his comments “suggests Islamophobia” to him.

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