SALMA YAQOOB is living in fear for her and her family’s life following the terror attack in London, she admitted yesterday.
Formerly the Respect party’s leader, she is standing as an independent candidate for the Bradford West constituency in tomorrow’s general election.
Labour candidate Naz Shah took the seat, which has a large Muslim community, from Respect’s George Galloway in 2015.
Until now Ms Yaqoob had chosen to remain silent in order to focus on local campaign issues, but yesterday she reported incidents of social media abuse and attacks on her supporters.
She said that the incidents made her “sick to the stomach,” and she condemned those who had used people’s tragic deaths to “score cheap political points.”
The online abuse, which targeted her personally, relates to honour killings and accusations of anti-semitism.
Ms Yaqoob claimed threats have been directed at her family and supporters since the start of her campaign.
A supporter had a window smashed for displaying a campaign poster and in another case tyres were slashed on a car which carried her poster, she said.
She said that actions such as these has led to her supporters to take down their posters at night.
The incidents have been reported to the authorities.
In a Facebook post Ms Yaqoob made her position clear: “I have championed women’s rights and freedoms, condemned honour killings, stood against racism in all its forms — including anti-semitism — and will continue to do so throughout my life.
“I have never and will never support honour killings in any shape or form.”
She added: “As a candidate running for election, I cannot control who attends events or hustings I am invited to, who shakes my hand or sits at my table at a dinner.
“I have no control over who votes for me or doesn’t. But I do have control over whether I choose to fight or walk away.
“I am staying. I am fighting for the people of Bradford West so they can have a fair chance to escape tribal and mob politics — which a minority engage in to the detriment of the majority.”