RNA - Ali Avaei, who is of Iranian origin, is contesting the Newcastle upon Tyne Central seat. He arrived in the UK with his family in 2001 and has been a member of the Liberal Democrats party for more than a decade.
Avaei was first attacked by Prague-based Radio Farda, a US government funded propaganda broadcast service.
Radio Farda – which is notorious for its anti-Iranian content – attempted to demonise Avaei by drawing attention to his father and uncle, which it claimed are tied to the Iranian establishment.
For his part, Avaei has stressed in media interviews that he is an “independent individual” and that he wholeheartedly embraces the values and political ideology of the Liberal Democrats party.
But this hasn’t stopped bigots and Islamophobes in Britain from trying to derail his candidacy. The latest to join the fray is Maajid Nawaz, a former Islamic activist and member of the Hizb ut-Tahrir organisation who defected to the UK establishment in 2007.
Nawaz co-founded the Quilliam Foundation, a self-styled counter-extremism thinktank originally funded by the British government and later on by right-wing Islamophobic circles in the United States.
In a series of tweets on December 5, Nawaz tried to put Avaei under extreme pressure by asking him to effectively divest himself of his background by way of affirming his loyalty to the ideology of the Liberal Democrats.
According to Press TV, the concerted attacks on Avaei are being widely interpreted as yet further evidence of Islamophobia in the UK establishment.
This is especially the case as during his political career Avaei has exclusively focussed on British politics by trying to promote community cohesion and co-existence.
Back in June, following two Islamophobic attacks on an Islamic school in Newcastle, Avaei implied the attacks were an aberration by telling Chronicle Live that Newcastle is an example of “hope” and “tolerance” for “other cities to follow”.