BNP's 'ethnic' man defies the far right

By Shirin Aguiar-Holloway
Wednesday 01 April 2009 22:30

An ethnic minority BNP candidate standing in local elections in Bradford, West Yorkshire, yesterday insisted he would continue to campaign, with the support of BNP members, despite angry reactions from right-wingers and anti-racist activists.

Abdel Sharif Gawad, 29, who is of Armenian heritage, said: "I'm concerned about law and order, the drugs epidemic in Bradford, as I am a father of two." He added: "I feel an affiliation with the BNP. It is nothing to do with anyone influencing me. I'm my own man."

His selection has astonished voters and rival politicians. It has also angered some far-right activists.

Gerry Gable, head of the anti-fascist monitoring organisation Searchlight, said: "Some [BNP] activists are refusing to work with this guy and the Bradford BNP organiser has resigned. It's clearly a wind-up to the Muslim community.''

Mr Gawad, whose grandfather was a Muslim convert to Christianity, yesterday defended the BNP's repatriation policies. "We don't call for Asians and coloureds to get out, but an end to immigration, whether it's black, white, green or purple," he said.

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