Tahra Ahmed, a prominent Grenfell Tower volunteer aid worker who was reported to the police by Campaign Against Antisemitism has been sentenced to 11 months in prison after being found guilty of publishing written material in order to stir up racial hatred.
Ms Ahmed, 51, was exposed in The Times as having claimed that the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire were “burnt alive in a Jewish sacrifice.” After the tragic fire that left 71 dead, Ms Ahmed said that she had been coordinating the work of volunteers, coaching them and running workshops with the aim of empowering them. She reportedly discussed her beliefs with some of the people she has helped.
Ms Ahmed, who described herself during her testimony as “very very bright”, was found guilty of two counts of incitement to racial hatred, following the trial instigated after Campaign Against Antisemitism, CST and others reported the matter to the police.
Sentencing Ms Ahmed today, His Honour Judge Mark Dennis QC said that “stirring up racial hatred is an abhorrent act”. Noting that she had received a good education, he said: “I have no doubt you knew full well what you were doing and it’s likely affect,” adding that he had “no reason to conclude you have any remorse.”
He also read from character statements from Ms Ahmed’s family, noting that it was “unfortunate” that one of them had claimed: “There seems to be a special rule for the Jewish people…one rule for them, another rule for us. Is that fair?” A defence plea for Ms Ahmed to receive a light sentence on account of her care duties for her 74-year old diabetic mother was brushed aside as the judge observed that Ms Ahmed is not her mother’s primary carer and in fact visits about once or twice a week.
Gideon Falter, Chief Executive of Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “For years we have pursued justice against Tahra Ahmed and today 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.
“Ms Ahmed sought to twist the Grenfell Tower tragedy to fit her venomous world view in which it seems that any evil can 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. We are pleased that she will now go to prison for her wicked fabrications.
“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.”
In her social media posts, Ms Ahmed had written: “Watch the live footage of people trapped in the inferno with flames behind them. They were burnt alive in a Jewish sacrifice. Grenfell is owned by a private Jewish property developer just like the twin towers. I wonder how much Goldman [Goldman Sachs, a bank often targeted by antisemites] is standing to make in the world’s most expensive real estate location [Kensington].”
She has also described the Holocaust as the “holohoax” and posted on Facebook that “Hitler and the Germans were the victims of the Jewish conspiracy to destroy Germany.” She is also a proponent of the antisemitic conspiracy theory that the 9/11 terror attacks were faked by Jews. In one Facebook comment found by Campaign Against Antisemitism after The Times published its article, she wrote: “All the leadership of ISIS is directly recruited by CIA and the leadership are all Arab Jews, trained by Mossad.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism also uncovered posts by Ms Ahmed claiming that “Jews have always been the ones behind ritual torture, crucifixion and murder of children,” a comment redolent of the blood libel. Other posts described the antisemite Gilad Atzmon as her “good friend” and complained about the “hold of Jewish power over our so-called free and democratic society”, claimed that “Zioborg overlords are engineering a civil war”, and referenced a supposed “Zioborg Banking cartel”, among other inflammatory comments. She has also promoted the far-right, antisemitic “Kalergi Plan” conspiracy theory, which claimed that there is a plot to mix white Europeans with other races through immigration.
Following The Times’ exposé and the further research by Campaign Against Antisemitism, we reported Ms Ahmed to the police and called for her to be prosecuted. The five-day trial, held at the Old Bailey after Westminster Magistrates’ Court declined jurisdiction, ended today with a guilty verdict from a jury.
Ms Ahmed, who denied two counts of stirring up racial hatred by publishing written material, was described by prosecutor Hugh French as having “published two posts that were virulently antisemitic and crossed the line as to what is acceptable in a liberal society.”
During the trial, the prosecution read a statement by Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Chief Executive, Gideon Falter.
Giving evidence, Ms Ahmed said that she campaigns against the arms trade, with her lawyer describing her work as being part of the “social justice movement.”
She claimed to have a problem with “Zionist Jews, not all Jews,” and that when she talks about “Zionist Jews” or “Talmudic Jews” or “Satantic Jews” people know whom she is referring to, conceding that there were times when she wrote something and failed to make a distinction between the particular Jews whom she was talking about and Jews in general. She claimed that she detests publicity and that The Times, by publishing her posts, is guilty of inciting racial hatred, rather than her.
As her evidence turned to Grenfell, she explained that in 2014 she began working as a life coach, confirming, however, that she had no training in this field. She set out to provide support for the volunteers who were supporting the victims. When asked about her description of the Grenfell fire as a “Jewish sacrifice”, she answered that “the Talmud talks about sacrificing children, Satanic ritual abuse, a lot of it coming from the Jewish circles…the Ba’al Jews, Talmudic Jews, Zionist Jews they’re a small number of the Jewish community but they are criminals.” Asked whether the fire was started deliberately, she claimed that many people believe so. Pressed on whether the Jews were to blame, she said that at the time she did think that, “just like they bombed Gaza every couple of years.”
Asked by her lawyer whether she accepts that the post was insulting, she agreed, but she denied that it amounted to racial hatred, saying: “Absolutely not, no way. No racial hatred except to the criminals. I’ll be bold to the criminals and I’m entitled to be.” The prosecution noted, however, that with passions running high in the immediate aftermath of the fire, people would be looking for someone to blame, and Ms Ahmed’s posts were an attempt to “bait the mob”, which she denied.
When Ms Ahmed was asked about her claim that “Jews are always the ones behind ritual murder, especially young boys, to atone and be let back in Palestine,” she insisted that “there are millions of Jewish people who are anti-Zionist and many are Facebook friends, so if any of them were offended they would have pointed it out,” adding that “If it [the comment] stirred up racial hatred, it would have happened by now.”
Regarding her posts about the disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, Ms Ahmed told the court about “Satanic ritual abuse practiced by secret societies in order to control people…horrific torture of children, raping them, et cetera…Weinstein, the Hollywood mogul, my suggestion was he was not involved in SRA [Satanic Ritual Abuse] or the upper echelons of the cult and was therefore dispensible.”
The defence asked Ms Ahmed who the “Satanic ruling Jews” are, to which she responded that they are “the bankers, owners of media and corporations, they manipulate and control a lot of evil in the world and I want it to end and so I expose who they are. Unfortunately, sometimes I don’t qualify by saying ‘Satanic’ and some racists would comment and I’d delete the comment or tell them off. People would share racist or inflammatory memes and I’d delete them, even though I’m passionate about freedom of speech. My intention is to educate them.” When pressed by the prosecution on whether she could provide any examples of her calling out racism or removing posts as she claimed to have done, she could not.
On the Holocaust, Ms Ahmed told the court, “I’m 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 affirmed using the term “Holohoax”, arguing that “it [the figures] was manipulated and exaggerated at the time” and that, regarding the actual number of deaths in the Holocaust, “The Jewish council [sic] says 3.5 million…the Red Cross says 283,000.” She also baselessly asserted that “Hitler had an agreement with Rothschild to put Jews in concentration camps so Rothschild could transfer Jews to Palestine” and approvingly quoted a known Holocaust denier. She was also pressed on why she described the expulsion of the Jews from England in the Middle Ages as a “final solution to the Jewish problem.”
The judge asked Ms Ahmed about 9/11: “It’s a yes or no question. Do you believe Jews were responsible for 9/11?” Ms Ahmed replied that “It’s not fair to answer that without context,” also variously describing the terrorist attack as a “false flag” operation and a “Mossad” operation. She further claimed that “Before US Presidents are elected, they show their allegiance to Israel to pay homage to say ‘we’re here to serve you’.”
During her testimony, Ms Ahmed also invoked far-right conspiracy theories, for example asserting that “Kabbalistic Jews don’t want Europe to remain white. Personally, I’m multicultural and love diversity. This plan is to bring other people into the land to deliberately destroy cultures,” a claim akin to the replacement theory antisemitic conspiracy theory popular with white nationalists. Her testimony also featured further comments about “Rothschild” control of the banking system; “ZioNazis”; “real Ashkenazis” and “Satanic Ashkenazis”; the “Bilderberg group” (which often features in conspiracy theories); “powerful people behind world governments”; a “cabal” akin to the “deep state” and “the most powerful ones at the top are Jewish”; the Khazar myth, which holds that contemporary Jews are actually a converted Central Asian people with no claim to the Land of Israel, and other conspiracy theories, including about the CIA and the COVID-19 “scamdemic”.
The prosecution accused Ms Ahmed of “using the witness box as a pulpit for your views” and of knowingly and deliberately “whipping up the mob with her social media posts.”
In her defence, over the course of her extended and rambling testimony Ms Ahmed insisted that “I’m not racist or antisemitic but passionate which sometimes looks like anger. They don’t care I write about Muslim terrorist organisations, I’m not accused of being islamophobic or anti-white or anti-British.” She described the trial as a “witchhunt” and claimed that, during case management and her plea hearing last year, she was “unlawfully arrested, incarcerated and tortured for six days” and suffered from “post-traumatic stress disorder” as a result, inhibiting her from mounting a strong defence. At more than one point, she was rebuked by the judge for misleading the jury about the case management process.
Ms Ahmed was found guilty by eleven of the twelve jurors, who agreed on both counts, and has today been sentenced.
We are grateful to the CST for once again providing security for CAA personnel attending court for the trial.
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s analysis of Home Office statistics shows that an average of over three hate crimes are directed at Jews every single day in England and Wales, with Jews more than four times likelier to be targets of hate crimes than any other faith group.