Nahla Mahmoud, Spokesperson of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, was threatened after speaking out against Sharia law including by Salah al Bandar (or Salah al Bander) who has until recently been a Liberal Democrat Councillor and is currently an esteemed member. Details of his threats can be found here as can information on his dubious background here.
Spencer Hagard, Chair of the Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats, initiated an investigation when the threats were first made public in English and found them “groundless”. Instead, he said the inquiry “increased [his] previously high esteem for” al Bandar.
When he was further pressed, he commissioned an “independent translation” and reached the very same conclusion, which says:
1. Nahla Mahmoud’s allegations against Dr Al Bander are very serious, in their nature, and in the scale and persistence of their dissemination.
2. The allegations are based on Dr Al Bander’s posts on ‘SudaneseOnline’. We have had these independently translated into English.
3. None of the independent translations supports the allegations made in Nahla Mahmoud’s articles of 2 August 2013, 2 September 2013, 4 September 2013, and 28 September 2013. By a combination of of mistranslation, omission of key phrases, and highly selective and partial quotation, she has created serious distortions of the meaning of Dr Al Bander’s posts.
4. Our conclusion is that Dr Al Bander has no case to answer in respect of the allegations by Nahla Mahmoud.
5. We are therefore satisfied that there is nothing in Dr Salah Al Bander’s behaviour which conflicts with his continuing membership of the Liberal Democrat Party.
When asked for a copy of the “independent translation” by Janet Wright who lives in Cambridgeshire, Hagard refused. Janet wrote to him saying:
You say “You will see that the matter has been thoroughly investigated”. But that is exactly what I cannot see, because you have not shown me the evidence. As an academic, you know that repeating an assertion is not the same as providing evidence.
Would you please be kind enough to send me the independent translation you commissioned, with some information about who did the translation? Then I hope I will be able to see that Mr Al Bander is completely innocent of the charges made against him. Many thanks.
I very much wish to be reassured about the principles upheld by Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats. But the more you tell me you have evidence exonerating Mr Al Bander but you will not show it to me, the more worried I become.
Hagard wrote back:
The translations will not be released. They were commissioned for the sole purpose of carrying out a full investigation into this matter and will not be made publicly available. Our investigation is now complete and we are satisfied that Dr Al Bander has no case to answer.
You are telling me you have evidence in favour of Mr Al Bander, but you are not going to let anyone see that evidence. Yet it is not in any way confidential — it’s a translation of documents that he himself posted online.
So the Liberal Democrat view is that investigations into matters of importance should be carried out in secret? And the public can then be patted on the head and told not to worry? I must say, I am amazed that you consider that acceptable.
As you have given me no reason to disbelieve Nahla Mahmoud’s account, I am concerned about the harm done to her and her family by someone representing Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats.
Unsurprisingly, the Cambridgeshire Lib Dems have got it wrong, again. The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain is appalled that they have decided to side with al Bandar rather than the woman he has been threatening.
We would like to see the “independent translation” and how it is possible to transform terms like Kafir(a), Murtad(a) and Fitnah into anything other than derogatory and threatening.
Particularly distasteful is their implication that Nahla has made such allegations against al Bandar to help her asylum claim which was approved before this information went public. Needless to say, however, Nahla’s immigration status is irrelevant as is al Bandar’s somewhat dubious “human rights record.”
Clearly, the Lib Dems have been the victims of Islamist double-speak with al Bandar speaking of human rights in English whilst threatening Nahla in Arabic.
CEMB will continue to press for action in this matter, including by commissioning an independent translation of our own for public information.