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George Galloway: “the only person who should be issuing an apology is Fitzpatrick”

October 19, 2009

Press conference to respond to Jim Fitzpatrick’s press release demanding Respect apology
with George Galloway MP, Councillor Abjol Miah and other councillors
Venue: Prithi Restaurant
 Time: 4pm
 Date: Tuesday 20th October 2009
George Galloway will be hosting the press conference tomorrow and issued the following statement today:
“Jim Fitzpatrick is apparently too frightened to take up my proposal for a debate chaired by the editor of the East London Advertiser. But he has now issued a press release demanding that I join him in condemning Respect councillors, and that they themselves should apologise, for distributing a tabloid which accuses Fitzpatrick of urging that traditional Muslim weddings be banned.
“In fact, the only person who should be issuing an apology is Fitzpatrick.
“Here are the facts. At fourteen minutes and twenty three seconds past five on Bank Holiday Monday 31st August, the prestigious BBC Radio 4 news programme PM Report broadcast an interview with Fitzpatrick which will have been heard by hundreds of thousands of people. In that broadcast, reported just three days later in the East London Advertiser, Fitzpatrick likened separation of the sexes at Muslim weddings to racial segregation in the Southern States of America. This is both incredibly stupid and deeply offensive to Muslims everywhere. He said he wanted to persuade his government colleagues to introduce a new law. That law would make segregation by gender illegal at events held in publicly funded venues like the London Muslim Centre.
“Now either Fitzpatrick does not remember what he said, in which case I refer him to the BBC’s, or indeed the Advertiser’s, archives to refresh his memory, or he did not understand the implications of what he was demanding. Muslim weddings are normally segregated by gender. So are Orthodox Jewish weddings. It would also be very difficult and probably impossible to draft such a law without also banning, for example, women only swimming sessions, an implication also pointed out in the tabloid which has offended Fitzpatrick.
“As for his comments about segregation in the Deep South, which was a form of racial apartheid, Fitzpatrick should apologise for this disgraceful slur against many of the voters he claims to represent, even more than for the daft legislation he wants.
“Of course, one asks oneself why someone who has been an MP in Tower Hamlets for 12 years and claims to know the voters he represents could make such statements on BBC national radio. I can only imagine one reason – the desire to pander to the prejudices of some of his non-Muslim constituents.
“The ghost of Oona King has been invoked by Fitzpatrick as he desperately seeks to shore up his dwindling support. It is true Oona King insulted many of her former supporters when she voted for an illegal, immoral and disastrous war on Iraq which a majority of her constituents opposed. But at least she has changed her mind since I defeated her four years ago and regrets having voted for war.

“Jim Fitzpatrick, on the other hand, has not only never apologised for voting for that most appalling and bloody of wars, but now supports the unwinnable war in Afghanistan which is killing so many of our young soldiers. And he has explicitly insulted the religious practices of many of his constituents.
“The law has no role to play in how Muslim, Christian, Jewish or Hindu weddings are conducted.  Fitzpatrick had no business upsetting a wedding couple on what should have been the happiest day of their lives. The only people who should determine how their wedding celebrations should be conducted are the bride and groom and their families.
“Fitzpatrick has shown himself unfit to represent the people of Poplar and Limehouse. He should not only apologise but resign.”

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 20, 2009 4:45 pm

    thanks for this – will anyone be recording video?

    • pressofficethr permalink*
      October 21, 2009 1:05 pm

      Hi faceless – if you’re referring to the press conference, I’m afraid not. If you are referring to a debate between Galloway and Fitzpatrick if it ever occurs, I think quite a few people would be keen to video it!

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