Leeds: Green Party councillor Mothin Ali apologises for Gaza comments (2024)

A Green Party councillor has apologised after he was criticised for calling his local election victory a "win for the people of Gaza".

Mothin Ali, 42, made the comments after being elected on Friday for the Gipton and Harehills ward, in Leeds.

His remarks prompted calls from the Jewish community in the city for him to be suspended.

He said he was "sorry for any upset" while the Green Party said it was investigating his comments.

Mr Ali issued the apology after a video was shared on his TikTok channel showing him delivering a speech while standing in front of a Palestinian flag.

In it he said: "We will not be silenced. We will raise the voice of Gaza. We will raise the voice of Palestine." He then went on to shout "Allahu Akbar", meaning "God is the greatest" in Arabic.

Responding to the video Simon Myerson KC, the chair of the Leeds Jewish Representative Council, wrote to Green Party co-leaders Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay calling for Mr Ali to be suspended.

He said: "It is 48 hours since he was elected, and your silence has now gone past the time during which - I accept - you must have been considering how exactly you cope with the disastrous effect of the video of his behaviour at his count."

He went on to say he believed it was "wholly wrong" the party "should seek to benefit from his views and his behaviour".

He wrote: "It is antithetical to the ethics of which you boast. It is nothing more than hypocrisy."

In a statement, external released on Monday, Mr Ali, said: "I am sorry for any upset my comments caused about the Gaza conflict.

"That was not my intention. Like many across the world I have been deeply impacted by the dreadful conflict currently underway in Gaza.

"I do not support violence on either side: violence leads to more violence and this is what I have tried to convey."

He said hoped to work with "both the Jewish and Muslim Greens soon to discuss sensible ways for us to work on communicating our shared passion of bringing the conflict to an end".

He added that it was "not unusual" for Muslims to use the expression 'Allahu Akbar' as an "expression of gratitude and celebration", adding that any misrepresentation of his comments "suggests Islamophobia to me".

Mr Ali won Gipton and Harehills with 3,070 votes - 747 more than his Labour rival.

The Green Party said it was fully investigating all of the context around this matter and had nothing further to add at this moment.

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Leeds: Green Party councillor Mothin Ali apologises for Gaza comments (2024)
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