George Galloway's Muslim conversion: why the big secret?
Why did George Galloway feel the urge to keep his conversion to Islam secret?
The New Statesman reveals today, in an interview by Jemima Khan with the fiery new MP for Bradford West, that Galloway converted 10 years ago at a ceremony in Kilburn, north-west London. On one level, it's not surprising: he peppers his speeches with "inshallahs", during his 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 had no fewer than three Muslim wives (though not, I must quickly add, at the same time).
But it is very odd that he kept this to himself for so long. His adopted religion, surely, is not a shameful secret. Certainly his appeal to the Islamic communities, first of Tower Hamlets and now of Bradford, is well known. But, as Khan points out, he has generally been referred to as a "Catholic" in the media, and that this might not have hurt his chances with the working-class white vote:
There must have been some white constituents in Bradford, who, although natural Labour supporters, preferred to vote for the white Catholic candidate rather than the brown Muslim one representing Labour.
Posted by: tipper