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May accused of ‘burying head in sand’ over Islamophobia

29th Mar 2019

Hamed Chapman

Two Muslim Conservative peers are leading calls for a fully independent inquiry into the extent Britain’s current ruling party is riddled with Islamophobia

The latest repeated pleas come as 14 Tory members have been suspended for posting Muslim hate comments on the social media out of 25 that were profiled on Twitter by an anonymous author of the @matesjacob account.

Former party chair, Baroness Warsi, who has been incessant in campaigning for an inquiry, accused Prime Minister, Theresa May, of burying her “head in the sand” warning that the Conservatives had “a deep-rooted problem of anti-Muslim comments, Islamophobic comments, racist comments”.

“She doesn’t listen, she fails to acknowledge when there is a problem. It’s probably symptomatic of the way in which her leadership has dealt with other matters,” the first Muslim woman cabinet minister told the BBC. She has described the Islamophobia within the party as “institutionalised.”

Life peer and party donor, Lord Sheikh, who failed to get a meeting with May last year, wrote a letter to the Prime Minister reiterating that as leader of the Tories she immediately sets up an independent inquiry to “fully investigate instances of Islamophobic conduct”.

“We must take the appropriate remedial action and to put into practice suitable measures to deal with the problems after the inquiry is completed. The report following the inquiry will obviously contain the relevant recommendations,” he said in a copy of his letter obtained by The Muslim News.

The mainstream Muslim Council of Britain has also repeated its call for an independent inquiry, saying the latest online posts showed that “the scale of Islamophobia at all levels of the party is astonishing”.

Like others, the anti-racism organisation Hope Not Hate has accused the ruling party of being  “in denial” about Islamophobia, among its grassroots. “How long will the Tories continue to pretend they don’t have a problem with Islamophobia in their midst?”

The Conservatives have been ignoring and refusing demands to extricate all the venom of hatred towards Muslims within its ranks for nearly three years. The scale was exposed no clearer than when the leadership declined to even denounce its London mayor candidate Zac Goldsmith playing the anti-Muslim cards during the 2016 election.

Ironically, its latest candidate for the London mayor elections in 2020, Shaun Bailey,claimed that as a black man in the Tory Party, “I don’t feel the racism” inside it, when asked about the latest accusations on LBC Radio. In a think tank pamphlet a decade ago, he declared that accommodating Muslims and Hindus “robs Britain of its community” and made the country into a ‘crime-riddled cesspool’ but his remarks did not stop him being selected last year.

There was also concern this month that the Tories failed to expel former member Colin Raine, who was photographed meeting May but who shared Islamophobic hate online and allegedly organised a far-right protest outside an MP’s office though his membership is thought to have now lapsed.

In particular, the current Party Chairman, Brandon Lewis, who is a close ally of the Prime Minister, has been accused of ignoring repeated pleas by Tory members to investigate alleged racist and Islamophobic incidents, including a claim that a white senior party official referred to an Asian councillor as an orangutan.

Last year, there was also the infamous refusal by former Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, to apologise let alone be reprimanded for the callous way he described Muslim women the niqab as letterboxes and compared them to bank robbers that allowed the floodgates to be opened for more Islamophobic attacks.

As if further evidence was required, House of Commons Leader, Andrea Leadsom, has even suggested this month that having an adjournment debate on Islamophobia should be in the first instance be discussed with Foreign Office Ministers in reply to a request from Labour MP Naz Shah due to the “crisis that the Conservative party finds itself in over Islamophobia”. Later in a tweet, Shah rightly asked: ‘When did attacks on BRITISH Muslims become a foreign issue?’

Islamophobia fuelling terrorist attacks

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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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