Tories still fail to tackle Islamophobia

29th Nov 2019

Hamed Chapman

The Conservatives are again being accused of failing to tackle Islamophobia among its ranks after the disclosure of yet another dossier showing more than two dozen current and former party councillors have posted anti-Muslim and racist remarks on social media.

“I am disappointed that the party, having now realised that there is a problem in relation to a specific form of racism is still trying to absolve its responsibility by diluting what it is that it’s going to look at,” said former Tory Co-chair Lady Warsi.

“Remember, we’re now four years into these matters first being brought to the attention of the party, three chairmen later, two prime ministers later, the fact that we’re still prevaricating about even having an inquiry, and the kind of inquiry we’re going to have, shows just how dismissive the party have been on the issue of Islamophobia,” she said.

According to details obtained by the Guardian, as many as 15 current and 10 former Tory councillors have again posted, shared or endorsed Islamophobic or other racist content on Facebook or Twitter, including with such messages as calls for mosques to be banned, claims the faith wants to “turn the world Muslim” and references describing its followers as “barbarians” and “the enemy within.”

During husting to become the next Tory leader, Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, joined in pledges to hold an independent inquiry into the extent of Islamophobia within the party but since has watered down the commitment into a much more vague inquiry to tackle racism and prejudice in all its forms.

But in the Conservative Home interview, when asked about the plan, Johnson said: “Well, I took it up with Saj afterwards and he said that, if I understand it correctly, what we’ve committed to is a general investigation into all types of prejudice and discrimination, including antisemitism.”

Chancellor, Sajid Javid also backtracked on his promises when he told The Andrew Marr Show there would be an inquiry into “anti-Muslim hatred” which would start this year.

“We will have an inquiry into prejudice and it will mean looking into anti-Muslim hatred, and making sure that our zero-tolerance policy – absolute zero tolerance – is as effective as it can be and looking to see what other procedures we could have in place.

“But at the same time it also makes sense to look at any other kind of prejudice – it’s absolute sense to look at all types of prejudice, in any form, because it is all unacceptable,” he added.

“I’m starting to question just how much needs to come to light before the party finally acknowledges we have a serious and deep problem with Islamophobia and that, institutionally we’re failing to deal with it,” said Warsi who has been a vocal critic of the Conservative’s failure to deal with the issue.

“Let’s not forget that that the first issue raised by my colleagues and indeed the previous prime minister was that there really was no evidence of Islamophobia,” she told the BBC, pointing out that there had been “dossier after dossier, dozens of dozens of cases being presented with the most vile evidence of racism within the party at every level from members of Parliament all the way down to ordinary activists.”

The Muslim Council of Britain has accused the Conservative leadership of “denial, deflection and discounting” after the party announced it would be holding a broader investigation into “all types of prejudice,” backpaddling on a previous pledge for an independent investigation into the matter.

“From members at the grassroots, councillors, MPs, members of the Cabinet and the Prime Minister, there are hugely concerning levels of hatred against Muslims throughout the party,” said MCB Secretary General Harun Khan. The issue was “endemic” in the party.

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