READERS have spoken – a council election candidate with a fraud conviction should not be standing.
The Press last week revealed Tory Shezhad Hussain was sentenced in 2008 for selling counterfeit clothes on eBay.
Mr Hussain, of Ravensthorpe, is to challenge incumbent Coun Mumtaz Hussain (Lab) in Dewsbury West.
But it was his eBay user name of ‘Twin Towers 11’ which people saw as more damning than the actual fraud.
The reference to the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks sparked one of the biggest reactions to a story in recent times.
Former Dewsbury South Tory councillor Jonathan Scott spoke for many on The Press’s Facebook page.
He wrote: “Out of the billions and billions of user names he could have chosen to use, he chose Twin Towers 11.
“That to me gives an insight into his thought processes and makes him unfit for public office in my opinion.”
He added: “The conviction is what it is. People make mistakes and get second chances all through life.
“If he was to be excluded from standing for fraud and theft, well you would have to probably empty two thirds of the House of Commons.”
Readers including Rachael Hibbert, Katrina Bushell and Anthony Jackson were among the many who agreed.
Coun Vivien Lees Hamilton (Con, Mirfield), who is up for re-election this time, spoke up for the fraud victims.
She wrote of Mr Hussain’s candidacy for her own party: “That user name combined with that conviction?
“What about all the people who paid for genuine goods and instead received fakes? Sorry but no.”
Mark Wilberforce though added a note of caution. He wrote: “Normal people cock up from time to time and do and say some crass things.
“People should think long and hard before rushing to judgement. He was not in public office then.”
The kids say Shezhad is alright
YOUNGSTERS in Ravensthorpe have flocked to support Shezhad Hussain after his fraud conviction was revealed.
In a sign of the good work he now does with young people, The Press was inundated with replies from those he has helped.
Many are too young to vote, but all claimed Mr Hussain did much for them as well as organising free multi-racial sports activities.
They claimed their families are so impressed they will support Mr Hussain in his election bid. Of those nearly of voting age, the comments of Umair Salim, 16, and 17-year-old Adil Ali, both of Ravensthorpe, stood out. Umair said Mr Hussain was now a role model and added: “He has helped us by keeping us away from the bad society.
“He has given us something to do, a place where we can have fun and be warm instead of freezing outside in the cold and on the streets.
“Look at the work he has done in the community for 10 years or more, don’t just judge him on one offence.”
Adil said Mr Hussain’s efforts had not only tackled crime but dealt with racism by bringing youths of different faiths together.
He added: “Many people respect him because he treats and speaks to all young people equally.
“Please visit our youth club to talk to the young people and get our views personally. There’s English and Asian boys and girls together.”