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Clamour grows for Tories to root out Islamophobia in own ranks

29th Jun 2018
Clamour grows for Tories to root out Islamophobia in own ranks

Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, dismissed claims by MCB that there was anti-Muslim hatred within his Party (Photo FCO/Creative Britain)

Hamed Chapman

The Conservative Party is being accused of being in denial over the extent of Islamophobia within its own ranks by continuing to refuse to hold an inquiry into the scourge despite growing calls for a fully independent investigation.

Party Chair, Brandon Lewis, insisted a “single case of abuse is one too many”, while claiming he had taken “a zero-tolerance approach” since taking up his post in January but stopped short in admitting the Tories had a problem and that it would be launching an official inquiry.

Not for the first time Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, dismissed that there was such anti-Muslim hatred within his party though acknowledged that there is widespread hostility towards the community within the country.

For more than two years, the Conservatives have rejected calls to hold an urgent inquiry into Islamophobia in the party after the magnitude of the scourge was blown open when the Government refused to even criticise Zack Goldsmith when he played a blatant anti-Muslim card during the 2016 election campaign for London mayor.

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) again last month urged the ruling party to launch an independent inquiry into allegations of anti-Muslim bigotry in a letter to Tory Chair, Brandon Lewis, highlighting strings of weekly incidents by candidates and other representatives within the party.

“Let’s just look at who the Home Secretary is in this country, as you’ve just described me, my name is, I’m the Home Secretary in this country”, Javid argued referring to his background when questioned by the BBC’s Andrew Marr about the failure to take the scourge seriously.

The MCB accused the Minister of effectively burying his head in the sand when he attacked the mainstream Muslim organisation itself instead of carrying out a full audit to ensure racists and bigots had no place in the ruling party.

“Rather than address the serious concerns raised by our message, Mr Javid has chosen to shoot the messenger,” MCB Secretary General, Harun Khan, said. “If the response is to instead attack the Muslim Council of Britain, it sadly indicates that the Party has no interest in dealing with this matter with the seriousness it deserves.”

When he was Communities Secretary, Javid indicated that he wanted to speak to the MCB “about how we can take integration and cohesion forward.” But since his promotion to Home Secretary, he has begun to claim that the organisation “does not represent Muslims” and insists that the Conservatives “don’t deal with the MCB”.

Former co-chair of the Conservatives, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, has also been a scathing critic of the Islamophobia within the Conservative Party, saying the matter had gone on for too long. “We need to stop denying we have an issue, we need to launch a proper inquiry.”

But speaking on the Andrew Marr programme, Javid said that he did not agree with Warsi contending out that there was “a simmering, anti-Muslim underbelly of Islamophobia within the party.” Javid said: “I’m afraid I do not agree with that.” But there were “issues with anti-Muslim hatred in this country”, he conceded.

In an interview with Business Insider, the former Tory co-chair said that the “poison” of Islamophobia had affected all levels of the party “right from the grassroots, all the way up to the top.”

Although she did not think that Prime Minister, Theresa May, was part of it, she said that the Conservative Party was deliberately ignoring the magnitude for electoral reasons.

There have been persistent accusations, including that a Conservative MP shared Islamophobic messages on social media, a councillor joining in a post about “Muslim parasites” and a Tory candidate suggesting people hang bacon from their door handles to protect their homes from terrorists.

“I’m afraid I do not agree”, the Home Secretary said when challenged if there was a “simmering, anti-Muslim underbelly of Islamophobia” within Tory ranks. “There are issues with anti-Muslim hatred in this country, as are issues with anti-Semitism.”

A total of more than 350 mosques and Muslim organisations have also written to the Conservative Party backing calls for a formal inquiry along with no less than 11 umbrella groups mirroring the request made by MCB.

Lord Sheikh, who served as an adviser to David Cameron, has also written to May describing the issue as a “matter of grave concern to the many Muslim members and supporters of the party”.

Lewis insisted that the Conservatives already have “a clear and fully transparent process for investigating complaints under the party’s Code of Conduct.” In response to the cases brought to them, they had “immediately suspended members and launched investigations. Many of these have led to expulsions.”

“It is utterly unacceptable that anyone should suffer abuse because of their faith, race, gender, sexuality, disability or ethnicity. Such prejudice destroys society from within. That is why I believe discrimination of any kind has no place within the Conservative Party,” he said in a statement published on

Mohammed Amin, Chairman of the Conservative Muslim Forum, also wrote to the Prime Minister that the Party “should hold such an inquiry.”

Further to MCB’s letter, another two Conservative Councillors were reported to have just been suspended from the party after the emergence of historic alleged anti-Muslim hate.

Tory MP Bob Blackman, who has been repeatedly accused of endorsing Islamophobia also removed his membership of several far-right and Islamophobic Facebook groups, insisting he never knew he had been added to them.

Responding to the MCB’s letter a Conservative spokesman said: “We take all such incidents seriously, which is why we have suspended all those who have behaved inappropriately and launched immediate investigations.”

When The Muslim News asked Prime Minister’s Spokesman whether the Prime Minister would conduct an inquiry into Islamophobia in her party, he said, “Prime Minister considers Islamophobia unacceptable in all its forms.”

Conservative Party must end denial of Islamophobia within its ranks

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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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