"While dictators rage and statesmen talk, all Europe dances — to The Lambeth Walk."

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Council Staff Sacked for 'Holocaust' Email

Four Lancashire County Council staff have been sacked for sending an email which compared the Israeli presence in Gaza and the West Bank with the Holocaust.

A Muslim councillor who forwarded the email 63 times was not even disciplined, however.

Salim Mulla said that he did not believe the email to be offensive - and although he has always supported Holocaust Memorial Day, he said:

'If there are other similar atrocities going on, not just in Gaza, I will say they are not acceptable.'

Is a man who believes a military operation against terrorists is the moral equivalent of the Holocaust really fit to hold public office?

The fact is, were he not a Muslim he would be fired or imprisoned for such views. Although I don't generally believe anyone should be persecuted for their political opinions, however ludicrous, his views call his judgment and his objectivity seriously into question.

The full story:

It is believed those involved brought memory sticks containing the anti-Semitic material in to work to bypass the Lancashire County Council's security system.

Authority bosses deemed the 'highly inappropriate' content to be a sacking offence after a three-month investigation, which saw a total of 14 staff suspended.

Five others received formal written warnings and a further five have since returned to work.

The offensive email was only discovered after one of those involved was off work and a colleague accessed his computer.

Titled 'Holocaust Survivors', it contained pictures of 1930s and 1940s Germany and compared them to modern-day images of the Gaza conflict.

The introduction to the email reads: 'The grandchildren of Holocaust survivors from World War II are doing to the Palestinians exactly what was done to them by Nazi Germany.'

Graphic photographs of people dying in Germany were alongside pictures of people killed in Palestine.

The email is said to urge the reader to forward the message on to 'show the world the face of this murderous state'.

The sacked staff worked in the adult and community services and children and young people departments at Lancashire County Council.

Council chief executive Ged Fitzgerald said: 'After a full investigation, we have taken disciplinary action against a number of staff found to have sent and received highly inappropriate emails.

'Four people have been dismissed with a further five staff receiving formal written warnings.'

He added: 'For some less serious cases, the staff involved have returned to work and any necessary action will be handled by their managers.

'This has been an unfortunate incident, but an isolated one. By far the majority of our staff use email appropriately and are working hard to deliver a good service to everyone in Lancashire.'

Blackburn with Darwen councillor Salim Mulla also sent out the email to 63 colleagues, but no disciplinary action was taken against him.

He sent it in January, not believing it was offensive.

Councillor Mulla, the senior vice chairman of Lancashire Council of Mosques, said: 'I shared it with my colleagues. I send a lot of emails.

'A lot of people didn't fully understand what was going on. I felt at the time, when the war was taking place, that it was important there were discussions within the council.

'It's something I feel very strongly about and I wanted to share it with the elected members. I speak my mind - some people like it, some people do not.

'I have supported Holocaust Memorial Day every single year and I will continue to do that.

'But if there are other similar atrocities going on, not just in Gaza, I will say they are not acceptable.'

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