For the first time – at least in this campaign — British MP Ed Miliband has been sneered at by a political candidate because of his faith.
Gulzabeen Afsar, a Conservative Tory candidate for Derby city council in the ward of Littleover said in a Facebook exchange over the weekend that she would never support “the Jew,” referring to Miliband.
“Just can’t take Mr. Ed Miliband seriously!! DC has what it takes to be the future PM,” Afsar wrote. Commenting in response, a Facebook user wrote the candidate should show some respect “for the future PM.” But according to an exclusive report posted on the UK’s Jewish News Online website, Afsar wrote back: “Nah bro! Never ever will I drop that low and support the al yahud lol.”
“Al yahud” is Arabic for “the Jew.”
Miliband had recently spoken out against both anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in a speech in Leicester.
“We need to confront the scourge of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia head on with strong action on hate crimes,” he said. “For the first time ever we are going to make sure that when people commit hate crimes they are clearly marked on the criminal records of those who commit them. And tough new sentencing guidelines which ensure aggravated criminal offenses based on hate crime are properly dealt with by the courts,” he added.
Afsar, 31, describes herself as a Derby woman “born and bred” in a YouTube interview for Islamic Relief.
But members of her party were less than pleased with her remarks, and a spokesperson for the party told The Derby Telegraph her comment “offensive and wrong.” The spokesperson added, “She has removed it and apologized.”
Likewise, Baggy Shanker of the opposing Derby Labour party said, “As an ethnic minority councillor myself, it’s very disappointing. I’d expect her to have better control of her comments.”
A Labour spokesperson added,” With anti-Semitism on the rise across Europe it is abhorrent and terrifying that a prospective Conservative politician would say something like this.”
The candidate herself, however, so far continues to stand for election in Derby as a representative of the Conservative Tory party despite her remarks.