A South London Muslim cleric has demanded an apology from David Cameron after the prime minister last month accused him of supporting Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) as part of an attack on Labour’s London mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan.
Muslim community leader Suliman Gani has firmly denied allegations he supports the terrorist group. He said the claims were particularly surprising given he is a Conservative voter and had even been invited by a Tory candidate to attend a forum encouraging Muslims to become councilors.
Speaking to ITV, Gani said: “I’m really, really upset. I’m deeply shocked – I am gobsmacked. Why am I singled out given that I have a track record on showing peaceful co-existence?”
During Prime Minister’s Questions last month, Cameron said Khan shared a platform with Gani, whom he accused of supporting IS.
Zac Goldsmith, Khan’s Tory rival for mayor, added: “To share a platform nine times with Suliman Gani, one of the most repellent figures in this country, you don’t do it by accident.”
It later emerged that Gani and Goldsmith had posed for a photo together after Gani had been invited to an event where Goldsmith spoke.
Earlier this week, a spokesperson for the prime minister said Cameron stands by his comments.
On Wednesday, Cameron doubled down on his remarks, claiming Gani had said women are “subservient to men.”
“He said that homosexuality was an unnatural act. He stood on a platform with people who want an Islamic state.”
Gani said in a statement posted to social media: “For the avoidance of any doubt, I state again that Islamic State is in no way compatible with my beliefs. I condemn IS wholeheartedly, and have done so repeatedly in public and in private since its inception.
“This allegation that has been made about me is a smear on my good name. It is highly distressing to me, my family, and to those who know me.”