In the Britain of 2015 anything that concerns Islam is extremely sensitive. Whatever this judgment says on the subject of spiritual influence is likely to prove controversial and may cause offence, either genuine or feigned. As has already been pointed out, when this judgment discusses the relevant law, it would have been easy to evade the issue by holding that, notwithstanding the clear words of the statute, spiritual influence should be treated as obsolete.
'Islam is under threat: it is the religious duty of all devout Muslims to vote for Mr Rahman and his party.'
There was a persistent history of Mr Rahman attacking his opponents who happened to be Muslim by claiming that they were not, unlike himself, devout and pious Muslims. When leader of the Council, Mr Rahman had caused controversy by issuing a formal invitation from the Council, seemingly without consulting his colleagues, to the Imam of Mecca to pay a visit to the Borough. Clearly the Imam of Islam's holiest place is a man who would be accorded the highest respect, even reverence, by the faithful. When he arrived, Mr Rahman took good care to ensure that he personally gave the Imam a conducted tour of Tower Hamlets with photographers in attendance.
On the face of it, there was not the slightest harm in all this and is it light years away from the offence of spiritual influence. On the other hand, it did Mr Rahman no harm electorally when he ran as an independent for Mayor and it was a sign of things to come.
'Jagroto Tower Hamlets organises meeting in support of Lutfur Rahman',
the relevant parts of the report read:
Reject hatred and discrimination, says (sic) Islamic scholars and community leaders.....
Prominent Islamic scholars and community leaders in Tower Hamlets have urged the general public to vote for Mayor Lutfur Rahman to retain equal rights and the development of the borough.
Islamic Scholars, Mosque Imams, Islamic Teachers, Community Leaders and elderly people from different wards of Tower Hamlets made this appeal to general people in a meeting held in Water Lily in East London on 4 May. The meeting was organised by Jagroto Tower Hamlets.
The leaders said that once highly deprived Tower Hamlets was now placed in higher grid of national evaluation list in education, development and housing. After a long struggle against racism and discrimination, Tower Hamlets is now the first choice for people of all races and religious background. One group of people, who never appreciate development and cohesion are now practicing dirty tricks to stop this progress. They want to achieve their goal by dividing the community. Ulamae  Keram and Community leaders said that we have been treated as second class citizens because of our faith and race. We become targets in election time which is causing panic and tension in the community.
We have noticed that Islamic Scholars, mosques and Imam of Kaba  have been targets of political misrepresentation. We condemn these actions and call upon [text missing here]
Council of Mosques' Chairman Maolana Shamsul Haque  Presided over the meeting and Jagroto Tower Hamlets leader Maolana Syed Naseem Ahmed conducted it. The Executive Mayor of Tower Hamlets addressed the audience as Chief Guest.
[There then followed a list of some 24 people who with 'others' are said to have made speeches. The list contains politicians, journalists and Muslim religious leaders.]
In his speech Mayor Lutfur Rahman expressed his gratitude towards Islamic scholars for supporting and encouraging him and asked for their blessing so that he can be on the path of truth, honesty and have faith in Allah always. He said that, I grew up in Tower Hamlets and witnessed how my ancestors worked and suffered hard just for their survival. I was to present a safe and developed borough to our next generation. I want to work for everyone irrespective their race, religious belief and cultural background. He also said that my religious belief and Bangladeshi heritage is my pride. I will never forget the love and affection that the people of this borough have shown to me and I will always keep it up. I want to serve you as a child of yours.
Maolana Shamsul Haque said that the society of Islamic scholars want good relations and cohesion in the society. However, when some people target us on purpose, it is our moral duty to protect us. I want to express without any hesitation that religion never creates division in society but unites everyone. He urged everyone to vote for Mayor Lutfur Rahman to retain truth, righteousness and practice religious belief.
Here present Chairman of Council of Mosques [Mr Hoque], Scholars of Islam, my respected brother Sirqjul Haque and the respected audiences, Salam. ..... I was very shy and worried to hear all the praises and appreciations by the Islamic Scholar  (Presenter). I am very grateful to you all for the generous comments you made. I will say few words; first of all I am grateful to Allah. I am grateful that God gave me opportunity to serve you & to look after you.....
The only BME place is in Tower Hamlets, there are 15 directly elected Mayors exist (in the UK), only in Tower Hamlets the BME, Bangladeshis and Muslims . There are no places like this leadership. In order to move from this some people provided misinformation from Panorama to Dispatch and by walking door to door, they also provided untrue statements. What is the reason behind this, the reason is that at any cost they don't want this leadership. Insha'Allah, my belief is that if the people of Tower Hamlets and you want this leadership no one can be able to move us from Muslims Bengali leadership, Insha'Allah.
I am very grateful to those Islamic clerks and scholars, who are here today. I know your time is valuable. I will only ask you all to pray for me and my team, salam .
Today we, our relatives, neighbours and the residents of Tower Hamlets living in this community, we are fortunate that we are able to give a gift from our community to the people of Britain we have decided to nominate our Mayor again, the Mayor is also present here, Insha'Allah; we will pray now and would like to thank the two families who have invited us.
At this moment the responsibility we have as we are celebrating the wedding event, we will elect the Mayor again and celebrate his victory. I urge all of you to keep in mind that the forthcoming election will be held on 22nd. We have to forget 'win or lose'; this election is to sustain our own existence and asking you to prayer. I think the Mayor would like to say you all 'Thank you'.
BE UNITED AGAINST INJUSTICE
MAKE LUTFUR RAHMAN VICTORIOUS
Creating opportunities, making provisions and providing services to the citizens on behalf of Her Excellency the Queen. In this case everyone has a freedom of right to choose a candidate who is suitable and able to provide the services.
However we are observing that the media propagandas, narrow political interests etc involving the Mayoral election of Tower Hamlets Council have created a kind of a negative impression which in turn have created confusions amongst the public, divided the community and put the community in question.
We are further observing that today's Tower Hamlets have made significant and enviable improvements in the areas of housing, education, community cohesion, inter-faith harmony, road safety and youth developments. In order to retain this success and make further progress it is essential that someone is elected as Mayor of the Tower Hamlets Borough on 22nd May who is able to lead these improvements and who will not discriminate on the basis of language, colour and religious identities.
We observe that some people are targeting the languages, colours and religions and attempting to divide the community by ignoring the cohesion and harmony of the citizens. This is, in fact, hitting the national, cultural and religious 'multi' ideas of the country and spreading jealousy and hatred in the community. We consider these acts as abominable and at the same time condemnable.
With utmost concern we observe that by shunning the needs and opportunities of the Tower Hamlets Council and its citizens, Islamophobia, which is the result of the current political stance and which has derived from false imagination, has been made an agenda for voting and voters. The mosques and religious organisations have been targeted. It is being publicised that any relationship [involvement] with the religious scholars and clerics are condemnable and is an offence. Religious beliefs and religious practice are being criticised.
One of the local former councillors of the Labour Party has stated in the BBC's Panorama programme that 'Religions divide people'. Even in the same programme the honourable Imam of the Holy Kaba Sharif was presented in negative and defaming ways and thus all the religious people, particularly the Muslims, have been insulted and thrown in to a state of anxiety. We cannot support these ill attempts under any circumstances. We believe that it is not an offence to be a Muslim voter, an imam or Khatib  of a mosque and have involvement with all these. Under no circumstances it is acceptable to give a voter less value or to criticise them on the basis of their identity.
As voters, like in any other elections we also have a right to vote in the forthcoming Tower Hamlets Mayoral Election and we should have the opportunity to cast our votes without fear. As a cognisant group of the community and responsible voters and for the sake of truth, justice, dignity and development we express our unlimited support for Mayor Lutfur Rahman and strongly call upon you, the residents of Tower Hamlets, to shun all the propagandas and slanders and unite against the falsehood and injustice.
In the context 'the community' means, and is intended to be taken as 'the Bangladeshi community'.
As with the Bishop, the Imams' message is clear;
As the Imams' letter puts it
'[our opponents are] spreading jealousy and hatred in the community. We consider these acts as abominable and at the same time condemnable'.
The Bishop could not - indeed did not - express it more succinctly.
'this is not the view of one man: this is the considered consensus of your religious leaders'.
Given the close relationship between Mr Rahman and Mr Hoque it would be astonishing if, during the arduous process of obtaining the agreement and signature of all the Imams, no word of it slipped out to Mr Rahman.
To some extent the proof of the pudding is in the eating. If Dr Nulty had not known his target audience well, he would not have couched his pastoral letter in the terms he did. If those responsible for the Imams' letter had not thought that it would have a significant influence on the votes of the Bengali-speaking devout Muslim voters of Tower Hamlets, they would not have gone to the considerable trouble of organising the letter and obtaining 101 signatures to it.
One cannot put a document of that kind into the public domain and then say 'I didn't think it would have any effect.' If that were the case, why do it?
'(a) ..... the offences mentioned in the report were committed contrary to the orders and without the sanction or connivance of the candidate or his election'?
Clearly not: they were carried on with his sanction and connivance and he gave no contrary orders. Indeed he seems both to have invited and to have approved of the exhortations delivered by Mr Hoque in his presence.
'(b) that the candidate and his election agent took all reasonable means for preventing the commission of corrupt and illegal practices at the election'?
The evidence is all to the contrary.
'that the offences mentioned in the report were of a trivial, unimportant and limited character'?
'(d) that in all other respects the election was free from any corrupt or illegal practice on the part of the candidate and of his agents'?
Given the findings of personation, other voting offences, making false statements, paying canvassers and bribery, this cannot be shown.
 : Ulama (as it is generally anglicised) signifies an important religious scholar.
 : The Imam of Mecca referred to above. The Kabaa or Ka’aba (normal western spellings) is situated within the Al-Masjid al-Haram Mosque in Mecca and is the holiest place in Islam, towards which all Muslims turn to pray.
 : Mr Hoque mentioned above.
 : All citations from this event are from an English translation as the event seems to have been conducted throughout in Bengali.
 : Who had introduced Mr Rahman’s speech and urged the audience to vote for him.
 : The Khatib delivers the narration or sermon at Friday prayers in the mosque
 : Catholic metaphors seem inevitable.