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5,000 members of anti-Muslim group join Tories

31st Jan 2020

Elham Asaad Buaras

5,000 members of an anti-Muslim group have joined the Conservative Party after being drawn in by Boris Johnson’s “firm stance against radical Islam,” announced the far-right group’s spokeswoman.

Britain First, whose leaders were jailed for Muslim hate crimes last year, added that the mass defection had taken place in the wake of the general election. Anti-hate groups have rubbished the number of Britain First members as “trolling” but warned about the Conservative Party “growing link with far-right groups.”

Speaking to The Observer on December 28, spokeswoman Ashlea Simon said the group was attracted by the Prime Minister’s “hardline approach” following the London Bridge attack in November. “We will support a party that is willing to take a firm stance against radical Islam and it looks like the Tories are willing to do that. The majority of our followers appreciate Priti Patel’s and Boris Johnson’s hardline approach,” she said.

Simon said Britain First members wanted to form a movement of far-right activists within the Conservative Party that would back Johnson in the same way supporters of Momentum joined Labour to solidify Jeremy Corbyn’s grip on the party.

Tommy Robinson, the former leader of the English Defence League, also recently told followers on the encrypted messaging service Telegram that he has become a paid-up member and urged his supporters to vote for Johnson during the election.

Conservative Party Chair, James Cleverly, issued an apology for Islamophobia in the party last month, after a string of revelations about Tory candidates making anti-Muslim remarks.
Boris Johnson had committed to holding an inquiry into Islamophobia, while running to become Conservative leader, but later went back on the pledge – instead promising a probe of “all types of prejudice.”

The leader of Britain First, Paul Golding, also claimed to have joined the Conservatives, though the party said his membership application had not been approved.

Last year, Golding was sentenced to 18 weeks in prison and his deputy, Jayda Fransen, to 36 weeks, for religiously aggravated harassment. London Assembly Member and Labour Councillor on Lewisham Council, Tom Copley, said: “This is deeply disturbing. The Tories must take swift action to expel anyone who is or has been a member of Britain First – a bunch of racists, fascist thugs.”

Speaking to The Muslim News Unite Against Fascism national campaigner, Paul Sillett, rubbished the groups as “notorious for their fake, fascist ‘news.” insisting they “have less than 500 members, if that. Thus, their claim is ludicrous.”

“This latest publicity stunt though shows how favourably the far-right view Boris Johnson. It follows, of course, fascist ‘Tommy Robinson’s’ backing of Johnson. For Robinson and Britain First, to view Johnson favourably speaks volumes for how right-wing Johnson’s trajectory is. The Johnson regime’s support for Trump shows their racist, populist approach. Anti-fascists and anti-racists will need to undercut state racism energetically in 2020 while checking any potential far-right revival,” he added.

Senior Labour MP David Lammy said: “Hard right entryists have turned the Conservative Party into a revolutionary sect. They are rewarded with Knighthoods and celebrated as the best of British. In truth, they are an abhorrent stain our increasingly fragile democracy.”

A Conservative Party spokesperson said: ‘We are vigilant against those seeking to join the party who do not share our aims. ‘There is a process in place for local Conservative associations to approve members who apply to join or to reject those who do not share the party’s values or objectives. ‘We support local associations with this work to ensure they can and do take action where needed.’

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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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