Election candidate sorry for 'misogynistic' remarks

An Independent candidate standing in the general election has apologised after remarks he made about women were labelled “misogynistic” and “disturbing”.

Akhmed Yakoob made the comments during the recording of a podcast called Minted Minds, while appearing alongside the host and four other guests.

The Muslim Women’s Network has condemned the “deeply disturbing” statements and urged parliamentary candidates to commit to improving the safety of women in all communities.

Mr Yakoob, who is hoping to represent Ladywood in Birmingham, has said he is "mortified" and the "the tone of that discussion represents everything I stand against".

The two-hour podcast episode aired in March, hosted by Birmingham-based business owner Abdhul Zaman, brought together voices from across the city to discuss Palestine and the Israel-Gaza war.

However, the conversation between Mr Yakoob, Hall Green Independent candidate Shakeel Afsar, Dr Asif Munaf, Coventry-based restaurant owners Mohammed “Sunny” Sarnwal and Waqas “Vic” Mohammed veered onto the topic of masculinity and women.

When Dr Munaf suggested that followers of Dajjaal – a false messiah in Islam – would be women who had been “empowered”, Mr Yakoob responded with: “70% of hell is going to be women”.

While discussing their perceptions of gender roles, the criminal law solicitor said: “I’ve got nothing against women, I love women, I love my wife.

"But everyone has got a role in society, everyone has got a role in the household. In my household, I’m the man, I’m the king. I call the shots, and my Mrs, Alhamdulillah, listens to me and is appreciative.

AKHMED YAKOOB
During the West Midlands mayoral election, Mr Yakoob came third [BBC]

He later added: “It’s natural for men to be attracted to females, so keep our queens at home.”

While the comments were edited out of the final cut of the episode that appears on the Minted Minds’ YouTube page, a full version of the conversation has circulated online. The BBC has listened to the unedited copy of the podcast.

The parliamentary hopeful, dubbed the "TikTok lawyer”, sent shockwaves through the region after winning nearly 70,000 votes - the third highest - in the West Midlands mayoral election.

He has used his platform campaign as an advocate for people in Gaza and Kashmir, as well as voicing support for pro-Khalistan figures.

After the comments came to light, the Muslim Women’s Network issued a public statement which said the “spread of misogynistic attitudes online and in public discussions fuels violence against women and girls.”

A spokesperson for the charity said: “With women making up half of the population in every constituency and many areas having a significant number of Muslim women voters, their voices will be pivotal in this general election.

“We strongly encourage all women to closely examine candidates' positions on crucial issues such as violence against women and girls (VAWG) and equality.

“We also urge all parliamentary candidates to condemn violence against women and girls (VAWG) and misogyny, and to commit to improving the safety of women in all communities.”

Mr Yakoob, who has more than 195,000 followers on TikTok, has previously shared videos in support Andrew Tate, a controversial influencer who is currently awaiting trial in Romania on charges of human trafficking and rape.

'Fighting misogyny ally'

Addressing the podcast comments, Mr Yakoob said: “I am mortified to listen back to this recording. While banter in an informal setting can often be crude, I should have refused to take part, since the tone of that discussion represents everything I stand against.

“Voters in Ladywood will not fall for attempts to distract them from the tens of thousands of civilian women who have been killed in Gaza.

“But I have learned lessons from this and wish to wholeheartedly apologise. My promise to the women of Ladywood is that, in fighting misogyny, they will always have an ally in me.”

The candidates running in Birmingham Ladywood are:

  • Green - Zoe Challenor

  • Liberal Democrat - Lee Dargue

  • Labour - Shabana Mahmood

  • Conservative - Shaz Muzammil

  • Independent - Akhmed Yakoob

  • Reform UK - Irene Yoong-Henery

Follow BBC Birmingham on Facebook, X and Instagram. Send your story ideas to: newsonline.westmidlands@bbc.co.uk

More on this story