LBWF Chief Executive Martin Esom responds to my questions re the Cllr. Ahsan Khan affair

Nick Tiratsoo
May 12, 2016
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I post Mr. Esom’s responses below.
Much of what he writes is self-evidently vague, and seems to have been written with the explicit aim of avoiding giving anything away, hardly appropriate in the light of the seriousness of both the events in question and the wider situation that we find ourselves in.
Regarding the ‘community award’, I understand that LBWF is claiming that every visitor to the Mayor’s parlour is given the same ‘memento’ or ‘keepsake’. I wonder how it is then that the Evening Standard came to use the phrase ‘community award’, particularly since the paper certainly would have consulted the council’s press office before using such terminology?
As to the ‘independent investigation’ into the social media site which I drew attention to, I understand that barrister Jonathan Auburn has been retained as the lead. Whether this is an effective way of spending public money remains to be seen. I repost below the cartoon which I previously cited to Mr. Esom, and readers can decide for themselves if judging whether it is anti-Semitic or not really requires the input of a such a learned, though no doubt expensive, outside party.

‘Dear Mr Tiratsoo,
Thank you for your correspondence of Thursday 7th April, Friday 15th April and Tuesday 19th April.
Please accept our apologies for the delay and lack of acknowledgement of your last email of Tuesday 19th April. In response to your queries:
Re: Lea Bridge Road Mosque – Thursday 7th April
In response to your letter of Thursday 7th April regarding groups hosted by Lea Bridge Road mosque, I would note that the Waltham Forest Islamic Association organise and host events at this site and that this is not the remit of Waltham Forest Councillors.
As a Council we continue to work with Councillors and local groups to ensure that the events that are hosted in the Borough are not contrary to good community cohesion and community integration. Where concerns are raised about the legality of certain events held in the Borough, these are referred to the relevant authorities for investigation.
Re: Story in today’s Evening Standard – Friday 15th April
Your letter of Friday 15th April requested information on the giving of a ‘community award’ and the ‘criteria that govern its administration’.
Khalid Iqbal Malik attended the Mayor’s parlour on 28 January 2016, at which he was given a memento depicting the Borough’s crest. I would like to clarify that this was not a formally recognised community award. The Council’s programme of community awards is administered through our “Love Your Borough” programme or formal civic awards (ordinarily presented at Full Council following recommendation by the civic awards panel). The memento given to Mr Malik was a keepsake. The Council is currently reviewing such matters as part of its independent investigation.
Re: LBWF ‘community awards’ – Tuesday 19th April
In response to your letter of Thursday 7th April regarding the content of a social media site, I would stress that we take these incidents seriously and are we are in the process of an independent investigation into this issue.
Yours sincerely,
Martin Esom’