(Updated: 1pm, 5th April 2007)
Ken Livingstone has unveiled details of what he calls “an organised email campaign” to influence an online poll being conducted by the Evening Standard “aimed at stirring up communal hatred by spreading entirely false statements about plans for a new mosque in East London.”
According to Mr Livingstone the campaign has been sparked by an online poll asking people to votewhether or not they were in favour of him spending £100 million of public money on a new Mosque in East London. The Mayor has previously stated that no public money will be spent on the Mosque.
Mr Livingstone said his office has been alerted to a series of emails being sent which make what he calls “a series of false claims about the mosque proposals in such a way as to stir up communal hatred”. The emails read:
“Don’t know if you have heard about this but Ken Livingstone is planning to use tax payer’s money to build an enormous mosque costing an estimated 100M in the docklands. What do you think about it? Wouldn’t it be better to spend the money on a new hospital or improved transport facilities?? BIGGER THAN ST PAULS!!! The plan is for the mosque to be so big that people flying in from all over the world for the 2012 Olympics will it see it as the biggest landmark in London , bigger than St Pauls, Westminster Abbey or Wembley Stadium
Take a second to cast your vote in The Evening Standard on-line poll to determine public opinion about whether a mega mosque should be built for the Olympics.
The vote so far is 57 % in favour. It looks like the Muslim community is casting its vote in droves, and as usual the Christians are burying their heads in the sand….
After voting, forward this to as many people as you can. Here’s the link:”
According to a statement from the Mayor’s office one of the email addresses used to circulate this message originated from Jaguar cars.
Mr Livingstone said the allegations in the emails were “clearly designed to deliberately whip up communal hatred and contain content that is entirely untrue.They are clearly being spread in an organised way for unscrupulous political reasons”.
The Mayor repeated his past statement that “there is no proposal to use any public money at all for such a mosque; there is no link between plans for a mosque and the Olympics; and, as widely reported, there are actually no plans for a mosque on the scale claimed in the email.”
Mr Livingstone has written to Veronica Wadley, Editor of the Evening Standard, asking her to confirm that the paper repudiates the content of the mass email and asking that the paper “clarify to readers and visitors to the website that the poll will be disregarded as totally unrepresentative.”
Last night it emerged that similar claims about the mosque were being made by the British National Party on their website.
The article on the site describes the Mosque as “the biggest symbol so far of the Islamic colonisation of England” and urges readers to “please go to the Standard website and add your own ‘No’ vote. And please forward this email on to everyone in your address book.”