MP dismisses criticism of British foreign policy as ‘crap’
Labour Community Minister dismissed a young Muslim woman’s views as “a load of crap” after becoming embroiled in a heated debate.
Phil Woolas, who was launching the Government’s “tackling extremism” roadshow, has been criticised for his comments after a 10-minute exchange with Komal Adris, 27, head of the Northern team for the Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPACUK).
Mr Woolas, who is the Labour MP for Oldham East & Saddleworth, met Miss Adris, along with around 80 other community representatives at the Reebok Stadium.
Miss Adris said: “I told Mr Woolas that Muslims and non-Muslims across the country have demonstrated they disagree with Labour’s unethical foreign policy, but he had the audacity to tell us that it wasn’t a legitimate grievance.
“As we discussed it further, he asked if I was saying the 7/7 bombers did what they did because of grievances with foreign policy or because of their perverted interpretation of religion.”
During the discussion colleagues attempted to usher Mr Woolas away from Miss Adris’ table but to no avail.
She said: “I think his frustration built up when I suggested he was labelling me an extremist. “I told him that foreign policy was a real concern of mine and how dare he patronise me by telling me that my concerns are not legitimate. He responded with: I’m sorry but that’s a load of crap’.”
MPACUK described the end result of the roadshow as “a meaningless farce”.
It said: “The alarming irony is that these words were uttered by the Governments Minister for Local and Community Cohesion, just days before the launch of the new Commission for Integration and Cohesion.”
A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: “To a certain extent ministers can’t win.
“They are often criticised for not being straight talking and there are those who frequently say far worse about government and politicians.
“This was a full and frank exchange and this is what genuine dialogue is about.”
The comment comes after the Foreign Office minister Kim Howells and Home Secretary John Reid condemned an open letter sent a fortnight by Muslim leaders, who placed the blame of extremism on the foreign policy, as “irrational” and ” facile”.
While Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott last week was reported to have described America’s Bush administration as “crap” on the Middle East road map for peace, though he denied the reports, saying a private conversation had been reported inaccurately.