Tahra Ahmed has been sentenced to 11 months in prison after being found guilty of publishing written material in order to stir up racial hatred.
Ahmed, 51, claimed victims of the Grenfell Tower fire were “burnt alive in a Jewish sacrifice” in a The Times expose. Seventy-one people died in the tragedy.
Ahmed was found guilty of two counts of incitement to racial hatred following the five-day trial instigated after Campaign Against Antisemitism, CST and others reported the matter to police.
During the trial Ahmed claimed she had coordinated volunteer work and ran workshops. She reportedly discussed her beliefs with some of the people she helped.
Gideon Falter, CAA Chief Executive welcomed the news after pursing justice for years.
“We are vindicated by this strong sentence, which sends a very clear message to those who seek to stir up anti-Jewish racism through conspiracy theories,” he said.
Falter added that Ahmed “sought to twist” the Grenfell Tower tragedy to fit her “venomous world view” where it seemed any evil could be attributed to Jews.
“She used people’s suffering and anger in the aftermath of the Grenfell tragedy and tried to wield it as a weapon against Jews before an audience of tens of thousands on social media,” he noted. “We are pleased that she will now go to prison for her wicked fabrications.”
Falter continued, “As we have seen, her hatred has not only enabled her to abuse the Grenfell tragedy, but also to accuse Jews of being responsible for 9/11 and of supposedly exaggerating the Holocaust. As the prosecution observed, she used her position as an aid volunteer in the aftermath of Grenfell to ‘bait the mob’ against Jewish people, making her conduct particularly repulsive.”
Judge Mark Dennis QC told Ahmed that stirring up racial hatred was “an abhorrent act”.
Noting she had received a good education, he observed, “I have no doubt you knew full well what you were doing and it’s likely affect,” adding he had no reason to conclude she had any remorse.
Judge Dennis read character statements from Ahmed’s family, stating it was “unfortunate” one claimed there seemed to be a “special rule for the Jewish people… one rule for them, another rule for us”.
Days after the fire in June 2017, Ahmed, of Tottenham, linked Grenfell to an the antisemitic conspiracy based on the 9/11 terror attacks in New York.
Posting a video on Facebook, Ahmed claimed Grenfell victims were “burnt alive in a Jewish sacrifice”.
Ahmed believed her comments were “political” rather than “antisemitic” but the jury disagreed, finding her guilty of incitement, following the Old Bailey trial instigated by CAA.
Falter welcomed the jury convicting Ahmed of “wicked fabrications”.
“As the prosecution observed, she used her position as an aid volunteer in the aftermath of Grenfell to ‘bait the mob’ against Jewish people, making her conduct particularly repulsive.”
Met Detective Sergeant Ross Burrell said, “Comments posted by Ahmed were grossly offensive, abusive and insulting. Her comments showed a clear intent to stir up racial hatred and such vile remarks will not be tolerated. Those who seek to deliberately drive our communities apart by spreading such spite can expect to be brought to account. We’re here and ready to help anyone who has been affected by someone else’s prejudice, ignorance or violence.”
At the trial, prosecutor Hugh French said two posts by Ahmed were “virulently antisemitic” and “crossed the line as to what is acceptable in a liberal society”.
Ahmed conceded there were times when she failed to make a distinction between particular Jews.
In social media posts, Ahmed has described the Holocaust as “holohoax” but told the court she was not a Holocaust denier.
“Unfortunately, six million Jews is a number that has been perpetuated and the actual number has been revised down by experts,” she reportedly said. Ahmed said figures were “manipulated and exaggerated”.
Ahmed told the judge she believed Jews were responsible for 9/11, describing the terror attack as a “false flag” and “Mossad” operation.
During testimony, Ahmed invoked far-right conspiracy theories including comments about “Rothschild”, “ZioNazis”, “real Ashkenazis” and “Satanic Ashkenazis”.
The prosecution accused Ahmed of using the witness box as a “pulpit for your views” and of deliberately “whipping up the mob with her social media posts.”
Ahmed described the trial as a “witchhunt” and claimed she was “unlawfully arrested, incarcerated and tortured”.
Earlier in the case, Ahmed’s defence counsel was the same barrister who defended anti-Semite Alison Chabloz and neo-Nazi activist Jeremy Bedford-Turner, both sent to prison following prosecutions initiated by CAA. Ahmed replaced her counsel.
CAA are grateful to CST for providing security for CAA personnel at the trial.