On Monday, the British Labour Party suspended Lord Nazir Ahmed, who hails from the Kashmir region of Pakistan. Ahmed is the first Muslim life peer, having received the title in 1998 from Prime Minister Tony Blair.
The UK Telegraph offers a quick rundown of Ahmed’s career to date:
Lord Ahmed, who was born in Pakistan, became Baron Ahmed of Rotherham at the age of 40. In 2007 he was highly critical of the awarding of a knighthood to Salman Rushdie, claiming the author had “blood on his hands.”
In 2009 he was jailed for dangerous driving after sending and receiving text messages minutes before being involved in a fatal motorway crash. The Court of Appeal later suspended his 12-week jail sentence.
He also went ballistic when Dutch member of parliament Geert Wilders, an outspoken critic of Islamic extremism, was invited to screen his movie Fitna in the House of Lords. Ahmed threatened to put 10,000 Muslims on the street to protest the invitation to Wilder. The screening was canceled. Ahmed is nevertheless widely hailed as a “moderate Muslim.”
So what could he possibly do that would be dumber than texting while driving? Well, Lord Ahmed visited his native Pakistan recently, and attended a conference at which he offered a ten-million-pound bounty for the capture of Presidents Barack Obama and George Bush. He didn’t say if that’s ten million pounds apiece, or if you have to bring them in as a set.
Ahmed was responding to the U.S. government’s announcement of a $10 million reward for information leading to the capture of Hafiz Muhammed Saeed, who founded the Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist organization. They’re the crew that pulled off the Mumbai murder spree in 2008.
The Middle East Media Research Institute translates Lord Ahmed’s comments as follows:
“In an expression of solidarity with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) Chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, British parliamentarian of Kashmiri origin Lord Nazir Ahmed has announced a reward for the [capture] of U.S. President Barack Obama and his predecessor, George W. Bush.
“He made the announcement at a reception arranged in his honor by the business community of Haripur on Friday [April 13, 2012]. Former [Pakistani] foreign minister Goher Ayub Khan, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl’s (JUI-F) central leader Hafiz Hussain Ahmed, and [Khyber Pakhtunkhwa] Provincial Minister for Education Qazi Muhammad Asad were also present [at] the occasion.
“Lord Nazir said that the bounty placed on Saeed was an insult to all Muslims, and [that] by [offering it], President Obama has challenged the dignity of the Muslim ummah.
“‘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,’ Lord Nazir said, adding 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…”
That must be some house. Especially if he’s willing to pony up 10 million pounds each for both Obama and Bush.
According to the Telegraph, Ahmed denies making the comments attributed to him, and said he was surprised by the Labour Party’s move against him:
In its statement suspending Lord Ahmed the Labour Party said: “The international community is rightly doing all in its power to seek justice for the victims of the Mumbai bombings and halt terrorism.”
But Lord Ahmed complained that party chiefs had not spoken to him before announcing the move and challenged the party to produce evidence against him.
He had told the meeting that Mr Bush and ex-Labour prime minister Tony Blair should be prosecuted for war crimes however, he added, speaking from Pakistan.
“They have suspended me? That’s a surprise to me. I did not know,” he said.
“If the Labour Party want to suspend me I will deal with the Labour Party. They will have to give me some evidence.”
Then it was time for him to switch on his legendary “moderate” magic:
Asked about the reported comments, he said: “I never said those words.”
“I did not offer a bounty. I said that there have been war crimes committed in Iraq and Afghanistan and those people who have got strong allegations against them – George W Bush and Tony Blair have been involved in illegal wars and should be brought to justice.
“I do not think there’s anything wrong with that,” he said – adding that he was equally concerned that anyone suspected of terrorism should face justice as well.
He’s not exactly brimming with gratitude toward Blair for that peerage, is he? It will be interesting to see if the Obama Administration denounces Ahmed’s bounty, since they didn’t have much to say when the New Black Panther Party put a price on George Zimmerman’s head.