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Tackling Islamophobia must be a priority for Labour

27th Nov 2020
Tackling Islamophobia must be a priority for Labour

Sir Keir Starmer ardent reaction to dealing with accusations of anti-Semitism in the party, is in sharp contrast with the pary’s bland response to Islamophobia (Credit: @UKParliament)

When an estimated 85 per cent of Muslims voted for Labour at the 2017 General Elections, it is expected that the party would respect its core supporters.

Yet in a backdrop of rising Islamophobia, the largest consultation undertaken by Labour Muslim Network has found more than one in four Muslim members had directly experienced Islamophobia in the party, and 37 per cent had witnessed such hatred and discrimination.

Almost six in ten did not feel well-represented by Labour’s leadership and 55 per cent of respondents even said they distrusted the leadership to tackle Islamophobia effectively.

Labour’s lack of a fitting response to the grave findings on Islamophobia within the party short of a bland statement that Islamophobia has no place in the party and that Labour was committed to rooting it out, is in very sharp contrast with Sir Keir Starmer ardent reaction to dealing with accusations of anti-Semitism in the party.

Despite priding itself as the party of anti-racism, inclusion, equality and having a proud tradition of fighting social injustice Labour appears to be little better than the Tories who have shown sheer contempt in refusing to carry out an independent investigation into the flagrant Islamophobia within its ranks.

Unlike the denial by the Tories, the report did recognise that there was growing concern over its perceived penetration of Islamophobia into the Labour Party that Muslims across the country find themselves in such a precarious position.

Home Office figures for 2019/20 confirmed that the highest number of recorded hate crime offences committed in the UK is against Muslims.

Over half of (the 6,822), religious hate-crimes recorded by the police are targeted towards Muslims. Yet 44 per cent of Muslim members and supporters of Labour do not believe the party takes the issue of Islamophobia seriously. Nearly half do not have confidence in the complaints’ procedure to deal with Islamophobia effectively.

One glaring example is high-profile cases, such as that of former Equalities Commission head Trevor Phillips, whose suspension by the party in March over allegations of Islamophobia remains in limbo. There appears to be no code of conduct for dealing with Islamophobia compared to that which has been implemented for dealing with anti-Semitism. It was only after the issue of alleged anti-Semitism that has led to the suspension of former leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Like all political issues, it is often only those that are put on the agenda, including by the media that get attention, it is why the Tories can continually deny their party is institutionally Islamophobic despite rampant evidence to the contrary.

With Muslims inside Labour admitting that there is a need for comprehensive action to be taken, it is up to the leadership to be seen to make it a priority and to act against the scourge that not only afflicts politics but all walks of life. Starmer needs to speak up as he has done about anti-Semitism.

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Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence event is to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to society. Over 850 people from diverse background, Muslim and non-Muslim, attended the gala dinner.

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