There was a post on the BNP main site and also on the Merseyside BNP blog of hate about a single parent in Ely, Wales who claimed she was refused service in a Post Office run by an Asian Muslim because 'her son was serving in Afghnistan'. The BNP released a video on Youtube featuring an interview with the woman conducted by a BNP councillor.
After sterling work over at Lancaster Unity, it seems the story is not all it seems. Over to Denise:
- No fools either are we, so when the screaming words Muslim Post Office Manager Bans Woman from Sending Parcel Because Her Son Serves in Afghanistan headlined an article from Welsh regional organiser Brian Mahoney on the BNP's interminably slow website, we could be fairly certain that a Muslim Post Office Manager Did Not Ban Woman from Sending Parcel Because Her Son Serves in Afghanistan.
Now had the headline appeared in the Daily Mail there might just have been a kernel of truth to the story, twisted and sensationalised out of all proportion to be sure, but distantly predicated on a fact nevertheless. But this story originated with the BNP, a party which considers facts to be an optional extra.
The gist of the story is quickly told: the mother of a soldier serving in Afghanistan took a parcel addressed to the said son to a Muslim-owned Post Office, and was told in no uncertain terms that she could not send it due to the fact of her son serving in Afghanistan.
As Mahoney puts it: "A Muslim post office manager in Cardiff has refused to serve a British soldier’s mother — because her son serves in Afghanistan."
You would have thought that something like that would - rightly - create something of a stir. Wouldn't the local press have got on the case? Wouldn't the Daily Mail have stopped the presses? Wouldn't local councillors and MPs have got involved?
But none of that happened.
The first, and only news of this putative cause celebre appeared on the BNP website - the BNP had scooped the world!
To quote from the BNP's version of events:
“Mrs [Maria] Davies’ 21-year-old son is a soldier in a Welsh regiment who recently began an eight month tour of duty in Afghanistan,” Mr Brian Mahoney, BNP leader in Wales, said.Accompanying the article was a video interview with Mrs Davies, in which Mrs Davies confirmed to Mahoney that Mr Khan had told her she was banned from the Post Office "because my son was in Afghan" (sic).
“Imagine, then, Mrs Davies’ shock when the owner of her local post office in Wilson Road, Ely, Cardiff, a certain Mr Khan, asked her where her son was serving.
“When she told him Afghanistan, he informed her that she was not welcome to send him anything from her post office, either packages or money,” Mr Mahoney said. He also instructed his staff not to serve her.
“All this took place publicly in the shop in front of witnesses,” he continued. “It left Mrs Davies astonished, frustrated and upset.”
Even a neighbour who later offered to post her parcel was refused service because they had identified from whom the parcel was being sent.
The video left a number of us unconvinced that this was the whole truth, mostly because of Mrs Davies' uncomfortable demeanour throughout, but more tellingly her assertion that "I know he [Mr Khan] can do bad things", which suggests that Mrs Davies and Mr Khan have a history.
And so, it turns out, they do.
Mr Anjum Alam Khan owns or manages a number of shops in the same road as his Post Office in Wilson Road, one of them being a Nisa convenience store, at which Mrs Davies was a customer. Earlier this year a technical fault with the store's electronic payment system led to several Nisa customers being repeatedly debited for items they had previously purchased, and among their number was Maria Davies, who lost £200.
Mrs Davies, who is unemployed and lives on benefits, was rightly aggrieved, particularly when her bank charged her for going overdrawn. “I can’t buy any food or anything,” she told her local paper. “This has taken my child support money, my tax credit, my child benefit, my income support and a portion of my next child support payment.”
Nisa promised to repay its serially charged customers, and to refund any bank charges incurred. There was no suggestion of impropreity on the part of Mr Khan.
We cannot help but to believe that the bad blood between Mr Khan and Mrs Davies might have something to do with this, and is the fount of Mrs Davies' statement that "I know he can do bad things", and that whatever passed between them is perhaps the reason Mrs Davies is banned from all of Mr Khan's premises.
Whatever did pass between them we'll probably never know, but we do know that Mr Khan felt provoked enough to impose a ban, and that the ban has nothing to do with Mrs Davies's son serving in Afghanistan.
In fact Mr Khan supports the British operation in Afghanistan, and his Post Office has collected on behalf of British troops. He is considered a hard-working member of the community.
But, as an Asian Muslim, he is everything the BNP hates, and naturally the party has maliciously published his contact details, which can be for one purpose only.
For their part, Mr Khan, and Post Office Manageress Mrs Thomas, have issued the following statement:
“There is absolutely no truth in the allegation made to the British National Party that the Post Office in Wilson Road, Ely, Cardiff will not accept parcels for British troops in Afghanistan.
It should not be repeated and we reserve the right to pursue legal action against any person or body repeating the allegation and call for its removal from any website or other publication.
The Wilson Road Post Office has always accepted and continues to accept such parcels. Indeed the Wilson Road shops including the Post Office recently held a ‘Heroes Collection’ for British troops.
The allegation is false and malicious and related to a separate dispute with a customer.
As a result that customer is not welcome at these premises but our services can be accessed by someone else on their behalf if they so wish.”
I managed to find a link to the video on Youtube here.