Lord Austin Faces Suspension from Housing Association Following Critical Post on UN and Hamas Tunnel

Credits: The Times

The Birmingham-based organization Midland Heart confirmed last week that Lord Austin, chair of the board, had been suspended following a post on X (formerly Twitter). In the February 10th tweet, which has been deleted, Lord Austin made a reference to the Hamas terror group’s operations in Gaza.

The tweet sparked complaints about his use of language, leading him to apologize and delete the post. Despite the apology, Midland Heart plans to hold a further meeting in two weeks to discuss Lord Austin’s potential removal from the board.

In the tweet, Lord Austin wrote, “Everyone, better safe than sorry: before you go to bed, nip down and check you haven’t inadvertently got a death cult of Islamist murderers and rapists running their operations downstairs.

Lord Austin (Credits: The Times)

It’s easily done.” The reference seemed to allude to reports from Gaza, where the UN Relief and Works Agency claimed it was unaware of a Hamas operations center built beneath its office.

Lord Austin’s apology stated, “People have complained about a tweet I issued at the weekend about Hamas’ operations center being underneath UNRWA’s offices.

It was not my intention to offend anyone, and I have deleted it. As I have written and said many times – including in a national newspaper today – the vast majority of Muslims are just as appalled by racism and terrorism as everyone else.”

Despite the apology, former Chartered Institute of Housing president Lara Oyedele and others called for Lord Austin’s resignation. Midland Heart’s chief executive, Glenn Harris, confirmed Lord Austin’s suspension, citing damage to the organization’s reputation and staff dissatisfaction. Lord Austin was not invited to a board meeting last Thursday, where it was decided that his position was untenable.

Secretary of State Gove expressed deep concern over Midland Heart’s actions, stating that he would demand an urgent meeting and an explanation for Lord Austin’s potential removal. Gove emphasized that Lord Austin, a champion for affordable housing, had spent his career fighting racism.

He attempted to clarify that while Islam is a religion of peace, the term “Islamists” refers to extremists who seek to undermine democratic values, including the terror group Hamas.

Lord Austin responded to the situation, stating, “The word ‘Islamists’ is very clearly a reference not to Muslim people but to extremists. I have said and written repeatedly that the vast majority of Muslims are just as appalled by racism and extremism as anyone else.

I am really shocked and disappointed that this has happened as a result of politically-motivated bullies orchestrating a malicious campaign on social media to smear me by deliberately misinterpreting my comments and trying to undermine a lifetime’s work fighting racism.

I am particularly appalled that people are claiming the word ‘Islamist’ refers to all Muslims, and it is disgraceful for people to claim this is in some way ‘Islamophobic’.”

Last year, the Muslim Council of Britain expressed deep concern over Lord Austin’s appointment as the chair of a review into civil unrest between Muslims and Hindus in Leicester in 2022.

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