The New Statesman revealed today, in an interview by Jemima Khan, that the new MP for Bradford West, George Galloway converted to Islam 10 years ago at a ceremony in Kilburn, north-west London.
This revelation about the Respect Party member has not come as a surprise to a lot of people. Galloway has always been a strong supporter for Muslims both within Britain and in foregn policy. He was expelled from the Labour Party in October 2003 because of his unyielding public opposition to the Iraq War. He peppers his speeches with "inshallah". During his recent campaign, pamphlets were distributed (although he says he was not responsible for them) saying that "God knows who is a Muslim", pointing out that his Labour opponent in the Bradford by-election, Imran Hussain, drank alcohol and that he, Galloway, did not and "never has", He has been married, on three sepratate occassions, to Muslim women.
However, Galloway has always been publicly referred to as a Catholic.
Jemima Khan writes in her interview that although the wider world do not know of his conversion ten years ago, "those close to George know this" and that she knows this because she happens to know someone who attended his shahadah [Muslim conversion ceremony].
However, when Galloway was later interviewed by the London Evening Standard he made a carefully-worded refutation of her claim without denying that he is a Muslim. "Whoever told Jemima that is lying." Galloway said. "All I'm saying is that nobody was at any ceremony where I became anything."
When asked if he prayed at a church or a mosque, he refused to answer.
Now, whenever he is asked whether he is a Catholic or a Muslim, he says: "That is between me and God - I don't discuss personal religious matters"
Alice Gribbin, "Exclusive: George Galloway's conversion to Islam" The New Statesman April 26, 2012
"London Mayor 2012: Who will fix London's housing? To beat Boris Johnson, Ken Livingstone must return to his true red roots, says Galloway" London Evening Standard April 26, 2012
Tom Chivers, "George Galloway's Muslim conversion: why the big secret?" The Telegraph UK April 26, 2012
Reproduced with permission from Islam Today