Perception of Waltham Forest

The adage of “Any press is good press” sadly does not reflect how Waltham Forest is being perceived by the rest of the United Kingdom at the moment.

A woman is refused entry to a ‘Community Summer fete’ as she was inappropriately dressed.

Could this be the thin end of a wedge where one group of Muslims enforce their view of Islamic rules/rituals/laws on Muslims and non-Muslims alike?

  • Was this a Community or private event?
  • Did the Council agree to Noor Ul Islam’s ‘dress code’ on public land?
  • How much did  Noor Ul Islam pay to hire this public area?
  • Did the Council contribute to the cost of the event?

Insurers are forcing Walthamstow residents to pay a premium on their home insurance due to a perceived threat of terrorism.                           

Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy is absolutely right to say “To exploit the sensitive and serious issue of terrorism in this way is insulting to our community and an inadequate reason for adding an extra £68 on to their (insurers) fees.”

  • However, what is she, and her Labour Councillor colleagues, doing to counteract this perception of our borough?

Both of these issues raise serious questions about community cohesion in Waltham Forest. So what has the Labour Councillor, Cllr Liaquat Ali – Portfolio Lead for Community Safety and Cohesion, said or done? To date nothing. It seems he is more interested in collecting titles and getting easy money from council tax payers.

Cllr Ali must be challenged to do the job he is paid for both from within his Party and externally.

We won’t expect Cllr Chris ‘Strong Leader’ Robbins to do anything as it is strongly rumoured his leadership depends on Cllr Ali’s support. Simples!

Free radicals prescriptive laws

Later this month Waltham Forest will witness the juxtaposition of different cultures according to a national newspaper.

Protected by national and international laws ‘hardcore Islamists’ are to set up Sharia law enforcement zones within which gambling, smoking, alcohol and free mixing between the sexes (“…the fruits of Western civilisation”) would be strictly prohibited. These areas would then be policed by “Sharia cops”.

According to The Daily Star, the move will see specific areas, including Walthamstow and Leyton, flooded with thousands of posters & stickers saying, “no gambling”, “no music or concerts”, “no porn or prostitution” and “no drugs or smoking” as an alternative to government attempts to combat violent extremism under the Prevent strategy.

We await to hear what plans Cllr Liaquat Ali, Labour Cabinet member whose responsibilities include implementation of the Councils Prevent Strategy, has to ensure members of the public rights are not infringed by this proposed action.

Lib Dem Farid Ahmed, well known for having a sneaky fag and pint in the Nags Head in Walthamstow village, may wish to stay in his home borough of Redbridge to avoid falling foul of having his collar felt by the “Sharia cops”.

Not to Plan?

A senior Labour Councillors intervention in a Chingford planning application has provoked calls for an ultra right-wing and anti Islamic organisation to come to Waltham Forest.

Under delegated powers Council Officers recommended the application for the expansion of a mosque in Chingford Mount Road be refused due to the loss of a residential premises, the impact on surrounding residential occupiers and parking, with the increased number of visitors. However, Cllr Afzal Akram, who represents Lea Bridge ward on the borders of Walthamstow and Leyton and the person responsible for the Councils Corporate Resources, Business & Employment, has stepped in to ask officers to refer the application to the Labour dominated planning committee.

Bloggers have voiced their opinions questioning Cllr Akrams motives for his intervention.

Cllr Akram’s questionable intervention can only but heighten the fears, legitimate or otherwise, that one section of our community is being given preferential treatment over others.