Muslim peer apologises for anti-Jewish remarks
A Pakistan-born UK peer suspended by the Labour party for alleged anti-semitic remarks has apologised "completely and unreservedly".
London: A Pakistan-born UK peer suspended by the Labour party for alleged anti-semitic remarks has apologised "completely and unreservedly".
Lord Nazir Ahmed had allegedly blamed Jewish-owned media organisations for his imprisonment for dangerous driving in a Pakistani television interview.
He told the `Huffington Post UK` on Thursday that he could not "believe" it when he saw the `Times` reports earlier this month of what he had said in the interview.
"I only believe in facts and to be honest I should have stuck with the facts rather than with conspiracy theories," he said in reference to his remarks.
He also apologised for embarrassing Labour party leader Ed Miliband.
"He`s of the Jewish faith and I`m sorry that I embarrassed him or anybody else in the Labour party. I`m particularly sorry to all my colleagues in the House of Lords and in the House of Commons because one thing many of them know is that I`m not anti-semitic or a conspiracy theorist," he added.
The Pakistan-born property developer joined the Labour party in his teens and was made a life peer in 1998 among the first British Muslims to be elevated to the post.
In 2009, he was jailed for 12 weeks for dangerous driving after sending and receiving text messages minutes before his car crashed into a stationary vehicle on the motorway near Sheffield on Christmas Day 2007.
Lord Ahmed`s controversial comments came in a TV interview, thought to have been broadcast in April last year, while he was on a visit to Pakistan.
He told an Urdu-language broadcast that pressure had been placed on the courts to charge him with a more serious offence because of his support for Palestinians.
"My case became more critical because I went to Gaza to support Palestinians. My Jewish friends who own newspapers and TV channels opposed this," the Times reported him as saying in Pakistan.
Labour immediately suspended the 55-year-old peer, with party leader Miliband describing the reported comments as "disgraceful".