Tower Hamlets: Man admits racial and religious harassment of Rushanara Ali MP

Tower Hamlets: Man admits racial and religious harassment of Rushanara Ali MP

A man who left Labour MP Rushanara Ali “living in a constant state of fear” after subjecting her to a barrage of racist messages and threatening to blow up her offices is facing jail. Hussain Sha, 41, stalked the Bethnal Green & Bow MP for 18 months, sending hundreds of threatening emails to her and texts to her brother, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard.

Sha first became involved with Ali after visiting her constituency office following an issue with his housing. He later became obsessed with the politician and sent some 290 messages to her between April 2018 and his arrest in December 2019, the court heard. He repeatedly called her a “nigger”, “bitch” and “desperate darky”, prosecutor Philip McGhee said at a hearing on Wednesday.

In one message to her brother, who he had met several years before when they briefly worked together, he said he had gone to Ali’s office “with a hand [gun] to do her Jo Cox style”, the court heard. In another he said: “I will blow up Rushanara’s office terrorist style with petrol.”

The court heard that Ali was so frightened of what of Sha might do she was forced to move her staff out of her East End office and into Westminster until after his arrest. “Ms Ali feared for her safety and for her family’s safety,” McGhee said. “She was on constant watch of who was around her because the defendant could turn up at events. She describes living in a constant state of fear.”

In his emails Sha also made abusive remarks about Ali’s Labour predecessor Oona King and Conservative MP Priti Patel and sent complaints about her to then Poplar & Limehouse MP Jim Fitzpatrick. He also accused the Muslim MP of being an “Israeli agent” and “a villain”.

The abuse stopped in December 2019 when police confiscated two iPads and a laptop from Sha’s home and arrested him. Sha told the court he was “sorry” for the distress he had caused.

Judge Martyn Zeidman QC said he wanted to study psychiatric reports before sentencing next week.
He added: “You appreciate that you have caused tremendous upset and misery and that this is very serious. I want to make sure no one else is put in danger.”

Sha, of Bethnal Green, admitted racially and religiously aggravated harassment, two counts of sending an electronic communication with intent to cause distress, threatening to destroy or damage property and fraud at an earlier hearing. He pleaded guilty to one count of exposure in relation to an unrelated case on Wednesday and is due to be sentenced on Friday November 27.

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