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Apr 27 2012

Her lunch with George

So Jemima Khan interviewed George Galloway for the Staggers over lunch (halal and alcohol-free) in Bradford. A coupla converts sitting aroung talking.

Jemima’s mother started life with the handle Lady Annabel Vane-Tempest-Stewart, daughter of Viscount Castlereagh, later the 8th Marquess of Londonderry. Jemima of course married the cricket fella who is now a politics fella. She was besties with Diana and all that kind of thing. Just the ticket for the Associate Editor of the New Statesman. George’s history is rather different, as is his performance of self.

Anyway, the point is, she said forthright things to him about his conversion to Islam, which he apparently prefers to keep shtum.

Interviewer Jemima Khan also exclusively reveals the background to Galloway’s conversion to Islam:

George Galloway, MP for Bradford West, is a Muslim. He converted more than ten years ago in a ceremony at a hotel in Kilburn, north-west London, attended by members of the Muslim Association of Great Britain. Those close to him know this. The rest of the world, including his Muslim constituents, does not.

Over a halal, alcohol-free lunch at a cafe on Bradford’s main high street, Khan tells Galloway: “I know someone who attended your shahadah [the Muslim conversion ceremony].”

He gave her the fish eye, and then, according to the Guardian, walked out. But why? Is it the hotel? Kilburn? The MAB? Which part is wounding enough to walk out on as opposed to correcting?

George Galloway has denied claims made by Jemima Khan in the New Statesman that he converted to Islam in a ceremony in London more than 10 years ago.

The newly elected MP for Bradford West does not deny being a Muslim, but says Khan’s claim of a conversion in a hotel in Kilburn, north-west London, is “simply and categorically untrue”.

Galloway is often asked about his faith but refuses to answer, saying his religion is a “personal matter” of no import to his political activities. He recently married his fourth wife in what has been reported was a Muslim ceremony in Amsterdam.

If Galloway’s religion is a “personal matter” of no import to his political activities, then why did he exploit it during his campaign? Khan and the NS hint at the same question.

In the media, Galloway is often referred to as a Catholic. However, as Khan finds, the Muslim constituents of Bradford knew otherwise:

There must have been some white constituents in Bradford, who, although natural Labour supporters, preferred to vote for the white Catholic candidate rather than the brown Muslim one representing Labour. Meanwhile, his Muslim constituents delighted in the hints – “a Muslim is somebody who is not afraid of earthly power but who fears only the Judgement Day. I’m ready for that, I’m working for that and it’s the only thing I fear.” Many favoured a possible or a potential Muslim over a “lapsed” one, such as Labour’s Hussain, who, Galloway claimed in his campaign, was “never out of the pub”.

A drink-soaked Labourite popinjay, I suppose.

9 comments

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  1. 1
    Ian MacDougall

    Could Galloway’s coyness on the subject possibly be because, as a confessed Muslim, he likely won’t gain as many Muslim votes as the number of Christian/Catholic/Calathumpian/old-Uncle-Tom-Cobbley-and-all votes he stands to lose?

  2. 2
    anne

    Why does it matter whether or not he’s “reverted”? It’s his policies that matter, isn’t it? Do you want to buy into his identity politics?

  3. 3
    Ophelia Benson

    Eh? Reverted? Where does that come from?

  4. 4
    Ophelia Benson

    I seem to be having a hard time understanding people’s comments today!

  5. 5
    Seymour

    Mohommedans believe that everyone is born a mohomeddan, so you don’t convert to mohomeddism you revert to what you originally where.

  6. 6
    Jonathan Hartley

    The Pope, Stalin, Saddam Hussein and now (allegedly!)Mohammed; George clearly has a penchant for totalitarians when it comes to choosing his spiritual and ideological friends.

  7. 7
    anne

    Oy, Seymour. Say what you like about Muslims, but please don’t call them Mohammedans. It’s considered offensive (because they worship Allah, not a human) and it makes you look Victorian and out of touch.

  8. 8
    Havok

    Anne, the reverence with which Muslims treat Mohammed borders on (and often seems to cross over into) worship.
    And offense by itself is no reason to avoid saying something.

  9. 9
    Wheel Bolt

    which can be useful for fuel lines labeled with the material soon after that patented once compressed Surface finish is also especially important in dynamic applications During World War II rubber diaphragms

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