The first Muslim nobleman in England has been suspended from his political party following reports that he put a bounty on Presidents Obama and Bush during a speech Sunday in Pakistan. It is not the first time that Lord Nazir Ahmed has advocated on behalf of the worldwide Islamist causes.
It’s also a damning indictment of how the British political system empowered and supported a radical Islamist, despite indications that his misuse of the position would convey legitimacy to extremist causes.
“If the U.S. can announce a reward of $10 million for the [capture] of Hafiz Saeed, I can announce a bounty of £10 million [for the capture of] President Obama and his predecessor, George Bush,” Ahmed was quoted as saying by Pakistan’s Express Tribune. The threat came during a seminar at Punjab University entitled “International Scenario, Pakistan and Our Responsibilities.” It was a sharp response to an American reward for Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the founder of Pakistani terrorist group Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, and an alleged planner of the Mumbai massacre in November 2008.
Ahmed was appointed the Lord of Rotherdam for life in 1998, during Tony Blair’s reign as prime minister. He functions as a Labour Party representative for Britain’s noble upper branch of Parliament, the House of Lords.
Ahmed indicated “that he would arrange the bounty at any cost, even if he was left with the option of selling all his personal assets, including his house,” according to a report by Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
An article on the Punjab University’s webpage independently confirms the threat and adds more details. It said that Ahmed told a “charged” university audience that former President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair must be indicted for war crimes, and he predicted that “Iran was likely to be attacked by the U.S. or Israel in order to get votes.” If either nation did attack the Islamic Republic, “the Muslim nation [Ummah] should unite against these powers.”
Britain’s Labour Party immediately distanced itself from the comments and Ahmed. “We have suspended Lord Ahmed pending investigation. If these comments are accurate we utterly condemn these remarks which are totally unacceptable,” a party spokesman told British news outlets.
This isn’t Ahmed’s first brush with controversy. He has long promoted extremist causes to British and American audiences, including defending terrorists and lauding Islamists in both countries.
In February 2009, he sent a letter to President Obama questioning America’s treatment of terrorist Aafia Siddiqui, an MIT-educated scientist who recently was convicted of trying to kill U.S. troops and federal agents in Afghanistan. Ahmed called for her to be repatriated to Pakistan.
Ahmed’s outrageous statement about two American presidents should come as no surprise to anyone who has tracked his career in the House of Lords. A brief suspension, or anything less than his removal from parliament, should draw vehement protest by the United States.