A family group who also happened to be Muslim were prevented from boarding a flight from Gatwick Airport to the USA recently. They were not given an explanation. Their MP, Stella Creasy, has had no success in getting the US authorities to explain themselves, and has now written to the Prime Minister. But one pundit knows all about what really happened: pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins has been on the case.
Ms Hopkins has the nudge-nudgery on the go from the start: “This lovely big British family aren’t exactly conventional. They are two brothers – and 9 children… between 8 and 19 years old … I’m sorry? Two brothers and nine children. All called Mahmood … When was the last time two grown men, took nine ‘kids’ abroad on their own?” But one of the brothers was accompanied by his sister in law. Katie hasn’t bothered checking.
And then comes a really clumsy smear: “And then there’s their address in Waltham Forest, a known hotbed of extremism … Anjem Choudary – Britain’s loudest extremist hate speaker – came from Waltham Forest”. And, as Jon Stewart might have said, two things here. One, Choudary comes from Welling, in the borough of Bexley – not Waltham Forest. And two, he now lives in Ilford, which is in the borough of Redbridge.
So that’s more smears combined with crap research, or, as many people call it, lying. But on she goes: “And if it wasn’t enough that two Muslim men from an extremist area of England, plus their nine children were flying together without any women, to set off alarm bells there’s the fact that they have confirmed links with Al Qaeda … Yup. Intelligence was received about a Facebook page connected to the family address, containing extremist material sympathising with Al Qaeda”. Not really, no.
Over to CNN, that hotbed of Islamic fundamentalism: “A check by CNN on Wednesday of traveling family members on the UK Electoral Roll showed an email address associated with 18-year-old Hamza Mahmood that links to a suspicious Facebook page … The page appears to belong to a Birmingham resident with a similar name, whose occupation is listed as Supervisor at Taliban and Leader at al-Qaeda”. There’s more.
“When asked by reporters about the Facebook link, the family said the email listed on the electoral roll is incorrect, missing some characters, and that the son lives in London, not Birmingham”. So Katie is talking out of the back of her neck once again. Have another go: “Tariq’s brother was also detained in Tel Aviv for 8 days before being ejected from the country”. No and no. He wasn’t detained in Tel Aviv. He never got past the airport.
He was refused entry to Israel, and was detained overnight. But readers should know to expect this from a pundit who talks about “playing my usual game of ‘spot the terrorist’ at the airport, (beard -5 points, rucksack – 10 points, sandals – 5 points – be honest, you’ve all done it)”. No Katie, we haven’t all done it. You’re just a cheap and nasty bigot.
And your pants are on fire too. No wonder the Sun sacked her.