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Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 2pm

Lord Ahmed apologises for "Jewish Conspiracy" remarks

Lord Ahmed has apologized "unreservedly" for blaming a "Jewish conspiracy" for his imprisonment for dangerous driving in 2009.

In an interview with a Pakistani TV channel early last year, the Labour peer blamed his "harsh punishment" to collusion between the judiciary and "Jewish-owned media organizations" angered at his support of Palestinian refugees in Gaza.

Speaking to the Huffington Post UK Thursday, the Labour peer apologized to "the Jewish community, the judiciary and newspaper owners" for the comments which he said were "completely wrong" and the product of a "twisted mind".

Ahmed told The Huffington Posts' political editor Mehdi Hasan that he is "not anti-Semitic" and pointed out that, since entering the House of Lords in 1998, he has had "the honour of addressing the World Jewish Congress in 2000... working closely with numerous Jewish organizations, going to Israel and synagogues here in the UK."

Asked why he had made such offensive and conspiratorial remarks, Ahmed replied: "I don’t really have any explanation or excuse."

The peer also conceded that some Muslims "cross the line between 'Israeli government' policies and 'Jewish' policies" but said that he himself had, on several occasions, "interrupted people and said: 'This is not a Jewish issue.'

As far as I am concerned, we [Muslims] don’t have any problem with the [Jewish] faith."

In the TV interview, revealed by The Times earlier this year, the 55-year-old, Kashmir-born businessman says: "My case became more critical because I went to Gaza to support Palestinians. My Jewish friends who own newspapers and TV channels opposed this."

He said the judge who had sentenced him had been appointed to the High Court after helping a "Jewish colleague" of Tony Blair during "an important case".

Lord Ahmed was jailed for 12 weeks in 2008 but was freed after serving 16 days by the Court of Appeal which had taken his community work into consideration.

He pleaded guilty to dangerous driving but did not face the more serious charge of causing death by dangerous driving because no link could be established between his texts and the crash.

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