Nora Mulready, who will be a Change UK candidate at the European elections on 23 May, has rejected accusations that comments she made on social media in 2017 and 2018 were "Islamophobic."
Ms Mulready was criticised by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) and the monitoring group Tell MAMA after she appeared to conflate Islam with terrorism, questioned immigration from Pakistan and suggested Tommy Robinson may have a point.
Thank you (so much!) to all the wonderful people who've fought my corner today. Thank you to @TheIndGroup for being the first political party in the UK to defend principle of forthright, honest & sincere debate about contentious issues. Prouder by the day to be involved. ✊🙏💖 https://t.co/J6QXH5Sj3r— Nora Mulready (@NoraMulready) 24 April 2019
"For a candidate in the MEP elections to cite Tommy Robinson as a benchmark for concern around radical Islamism is a joke," Iman Atta, a director of Tell MAMA told The Independent.
Change UK has stood by her and said the criticism was part of a "smear campaign" by left-wingers, who it described as "cultists."
On Thursday, 25 April, she also received a supportive tweet by Labour MP Siobhan McDonagh.
Change UK has had two candidates — Ali Sadjady and Joseph Russo — step down since it launched its European election campaign on Tuesday, 23 April, over what was described as racially offensive tweets.
Nora Mulready is an incredible candidate for @theindgroup — someone with the guts to say things as they are. Wrong target @OwenJones84, drop your smear campaign and sort out Labour’s Anti-Semitism. #changepolitics https://t.co/Kqg6OgmttL— TIG London (@London_TIG) 24 April 2019
"I am horrified, appalled and deeply upset to have been targeted by what appears to be an active campaign of smears and lies from hard-left activists and the MCB," Ms Mulready told The Independent.
Mike Gapes, a former Labour MP and Change UK's foreign affairs spokesman, accused "far left Trot(skyite) trolls and cultists" of aiming "vile abuse" at Change UK candidates.
Stand your ground Nora. It is crucial that you do not back down on this. Every surrender to this Islamophobia (sic) industry is another step closer to blasphemy taboo, and a betrayal of reforming liberal Muslims & ex-Muslims 🙏🏽 https://t.co/gr1wnlD1le— Maajid — (Mājid) [maːʤɪd] ماجد (@MaajidNawaz) 25 April 2019
Change UK – The Independent Group (TIG) is a British pro-EU political party founded in February 2019, which campaigns for conducting a second referendum on Britain's membership in the European Union.