Scrolling news:

Tories trivialise Islamophobia inquiry

27th Dec 2019

The new Conservative Party has run roughshod over Boris Johnson’s original pledge to hold an independent inquiry into the extent of Islamophobia inside the ruling party by broadening it into a review of how it handles discrimination complaints instead. The Tory party has also reneged on its promise to look into Islamophobia in its party but instead has diluted it to include other forms of discrimination.

The appointment of Swaran Singh, Professor of Social and Community Psychiatry at the University of Warwick and an NHS consultant psychiatrist, was announced by Tory Chairman, James Cleverly, last week, who claimed that the party was committed to stamping out “unacceptable abuse.”

But his role has been limited to look at the handling of complaints of discrimination and prejudice and how it could improve its procedures and ensure “any instances are isolated and that there are robust processes in place to stamp them out.”

His unsuitability was immediately raised by the Conservative’s first Muslim woman cabinet member Sayeeda Warsi after referring to an article on Kashmir which the Indian academic wrote for an online publication, Spiked, whose editor has dismissed Islamophobia as a term designed to shut down criticism of Islam.

Singh wore that the conflict in Kashmir was falsely portrayed as a tragedy only for Muslims and that, for many, Sikhs and Hindus “do not meet the criteria of victimhood.” Singh claimed that it was Muslims who had “ethnically cleansed” Kashmir by driving out the other two communities.

The Professor, a Sikh of Indian heritage, has previously said he experienced discrimination when he migrated to Britain nearly 30 years ago. In another piece, quoted by The Guardian, he argued it was not realistic for the UK to live to a standard “where every individual is non-racist.” The charge of racism forced politicians to “act before they have had time to think,” he said.

The Muslim Council of Britain has also been scathing about his appointment, saying it did “not instil huge confidence in the process.” Secretary-General, Harun Khan, said it was “at risk of being seen in the same light as the Conservative Party’s customary approach to Islamophobia, that of denial, dismissal and deceit.”

He said the community had been “promised an independent inquiry into Islamophobia specifically” but that it had become a “review that aims to broaden the scope to examine discrimination more generally.” It was a “laudable aim if it were not for the fact that the Conservative Party is afflicted with a particular type of bigotry which it refuses to countenance.”

Last month the Guardian revealed that 25 sitting and former Conservative councillors had posted Islamophobic or racist material on social media, leading to the suspension of all of the sitting councillors from the party. Last year, the Government also controversially rejected the proposed working definition of Islamophobia that has been adopted by other parties including Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish Conservatives.

It seems the Conservative Party, and the Government is not serious about tackling Islamophobia in its party. The promises it had made were just for the elections. It is a sad situation.

One Response to “Tories trivialise Islamophobia inquiry”

Ken PollockDecember 29, 2019

You write that “the Conservative Party is afflicted with a particular type of bigotry which it refuses to countenance”. As a member of the party, I refute that, and can say from my 10 plus years of experience of the party, as a local chairman and a county councillor, I have never come across anything of the sort.
To say that no Conservatives are prejudiced against Muslims would be foolish. To say the party is “bigoted” is equally foolish and does your cause no good.
This sort of reaction is behind the inhibition that many feel about criticising Islam in any way, and that leads to Britons turning away from abuse by those from the sub-continent for fear of being classed as racist or islamophobic.
I hope you will welcome the inquiry, and by all means criticise its findings, but do not start having made up your minds as to the reality of the situation. Bad experiences of some, yes, but wholesale prejudice by the party, no!

Reply

Leave a Comment

What is 7 + 2 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is:
IMPORTANT! To be able to proceed, you need to solve the following simple math (so we know that you are a human) :-)

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.

Latest Tweets