Archive for August 8th, 2012

Lutfur Rahman, the first directly elected mayor of the borough, is also the country’s first, and so far only, Muslim to hold the office. He explains “I happen to be Muslim and I’m proud of that. I’m proud of my faith; I’m proud of my upbringing; I’m proud of my roots. I’m a British Bengali, but I’m also a resident of Tower Hamlets and a citizen of this country and I share its values.” It is difficult to recognise in the formal besuited mayor the demonised hate figure of the British conservative press who have been portraying him as a crypto-fundamentalist. Only this week, a Daily Telegraph columnist called him “extremist-linked” even though the British Press Council had recently ordered the paper to retract a previous statement. The “link” seems to be that Mayor Rahman goes to mosques – and so do Al-Qaeda members.

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Tower Hamlets Council has announced plans for a new council tax benefit scheme to compensate for welfare funding cuts made by the coalition Government. The Government will reduce funding for local authorities under the national council tax benefit scheme by 10 per cent, taking effect from April 2013. According to Tower Hamlets Council this will result in a loss of £2.7 million from its budget.

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