Andrew Gilligan’s unabashed Islamaphobia

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The infamous London editor of the Sunday Telegraph has once again used a highly controversial issue to piggyback his anti-Muslim agenda


Andrew Gilligen, journalist, beside the Thames outside City Hall

In a recent article Gilligan accuses Lutfur Rahman, elected-mayor of Tower Hamlets,  of using his constitutional powers to favour associates in the sale of public land and grant giving. While these are serious allegations that seem to have some merit, Gilligan loses all credibility by bringing Islamist extremism and Lutfur’s religion into the picture. The first clue as to his real motive behind this piece lies in the subheading of the article;

Muslim mayor Lutfur Rahman in line of fire over public grants in Tower Hamlets, East London

Was there really a need to need to refer to him as a Muslim mayor?

While at first it may seem to be a reasonable description of the man, but if hypothetically speaking, Lutfur was a white Christian, you almost certainly wouldn’t describe him as a “Christian mayor” in an article subheading.

Clearly this man wrote this article with an agenda in mind.

In the second paragraph, he claims that a Lutfur has “close links to Islamic extremism”, completely unsubstantiated allegations routinely made by Gilligan.

Although there are serious problems with some of the things Rahman has done, Andrew Gilligan has consistently attempted to damage Rahman’s reputation as well as Ken Livingstone’s during the mayoral elections.

In 2010, following an interview with Lutfer in the Newstateman, Gilligan lashed out at Mehdi Hasan, for daring to let the man tell his side of the story.

Medhi responded with this article, in which he outlines how the Telegraph editor used tacit deception to create controversy.

Not only that, Gilligan was caught sockpuppetting to influence online debate, and has been known to be a tireless proponent of Boris Johnson, who subsequently gave him the role of Cycling Commissioner for London.

Medhi also exposed Gilliagan’s former employment with Press TV, a controversial publication known for spouting Iranian propaganda. Medhi concludes:

Isn’t that ironic? The man who obsesses about Islamists under every British bed is himself a paid, high-profile employee of an an openly Islamist government … Hilarious. And, of course, deeply hypocritical.

Even Lutfers opponenets, such as a member of the Tower Hamlets Labour party, felt unease about the wording of the story. A commenter going by the alias ringmaster_j, said:

Having just read the article, I must say that the islamophobic nature of a lot of the attacks against Lutfur really isn’t on. The point isn’t that he’s giving money to Islamic groups, or Bangladeshi groups – he’s giving money to his mates, his supporters.

While CressCrowbits, from the City of Westminster, stated that:

Attacks like this article which have such a strong anti-islamic undertone that are designed to appeal to those on the right who feel threatened by Muslims will backfire as Rahman’s side can show this as criticism of him being motivated by islamophobia, which will undermine legitimate criticism.

So essentially Gilligan has used the story of a corrupt elected-mayor to perpetuate a negative stereotype of Muslims as unabashed, morally reprehensible leaders. Not only does this detract from the real issue at hand, it gives Lutfur sympathisers ammunition against their critics.

But the real kicker is, Lutfur is just small fry compared to the government currently in power, including Andrew’s good pal Boris, ’cause these guys are just as guilty as Lutfur, more so even, when it comes to cronyism and misuse of public funds.

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  • Extricate

    When are you going to publish your apology?

    • Suhail H Patel

      I’m waiting for The Telegraph to first publish apologies for the thousands of inaccurate articles they’ve written in the past.

      FYI, The only difference between a corrupt politician like Lutfer and a corrupt politician like the rest of ’em is that Lutfer got caught. It is foolish and naive to think they’re all not up to dodgy stuff. Look at the recent scandal of Grant Shapps editing wikipedia pages, or MPs like Jack Straw taking cash for influence (aka BRIBES).

      My issue with Gilligan is that he is happy to cosy up to Boris for cushy jobs in the London Assembly, but becomes a crusader when it comes to Muslims mayors and “extremism”. He makes his living attacking a minority community with hyperbole and rhetoric. It’s the hypocrisy and double standards that irks me about Gilligan.

      Ultimately I did not say the Lutfer is innocent of the crimes he has now been convicted of. My contention is with the manner in which Andrew made such claims against Lutfer.

      • Jules Vernes

        “The only difference between a corrupt politician like Lutfer and a corrupt politician like the rest of ’em is that Lutfer got caught.”

        Brilliant. To avoid looking ridiculous, present evidence for other British politicians having committed similarly serious crimes. Jck Straw’s bribery scandal is on a comparable scale in your eyes? Editing wikipedia pages, seriously? Really scraping the barrel here, aren’t you? And while it is naturally beyond pathetic to compare something minor like editing wikipedia pages with the vast array of crimes Lutfer is responsible for, at least try to be less economic with the truth. The evidence for Shapps having done this is more than dodgy, as I am sure you well know, given your obsession with Gilligan – he wrote an article on it sometime in April.