In Depth

Why the Tories are being accused of Islamophobia

Muslim Council of Britain calls for independent inquiry over ‘more than weekly incidents’

The Conservatives must launch an urgent independent inquiry into alleged Islamophobia within the party, the Muslim Council of Britain has said.

In an open letter to party chair Brandon Lewis, the Muslim unbrella group claimed that there were “more than weekly incidents” of Islamophobia from candidates and representatives of the Tories.

The MCB specifically criticised the party for failing to take action against Tory MP Bob Blackman, “who was forced to apologise after sharing a link from an anti-Muslim US website in March”, reports The Guardian.

The letter, written by the group’s secretary general, Harun Khan, lists alleged nine incidents that are said to have taken place in April and at the beginning of May.

These include the case of David Boston, a Conservative candidate who was suspended days before local elections for posting a photo of bacon hanging from a door handle, with the caption: “Protect your house from terrorists.”

Khan wrote that such incidents were just the tip of the iceberg.

He continued: “We want all political parties to ensure that they are firm in their commitment against all forms of bigotry and discrimination. Our democracy should not be overshadowed by a divisive culture within political parties that scapegoats minorities and alienates some who share similar political positions.”

The group recommends four steps for the Conservative Party, including launching a “genuinely independent” inquiry and publishing a list of incidents of Islamophobia.

It also suggests an education and training scheme on Islamophobia.

Tory Muslim backbencher Baroness Warsi backed the MCB’s call, saying it was “a shame” that a public rebuke was required in order to make her party treat the subject seriously.

“What I would like to see is, first of all, people within the party stopping denying this is an issue, and then starting to acknowledge the extent of the issue, and then setting out a clear pathway of how we’re going to deal with it,” she told Sky News.

Speaking to ITV’s Robert Peston in April, Warsi said: “I know within my own party there are almost now weekly occurrences of Islamophobic incidents and rhetoric.”

This is not the first time that the MCB has called for an urgent inquiry, notes Vice News. In 2016, the council denounced what it described as “dog-whistle” racism from the party’s then-candidate for London mayor Zak Goldsmith after he described opponent Sadiq Khan as “radical”.

Miqaad Versi, the MCB’s assistant secretary general, raised the issue again in 2017, after Goldsmith was selected to run as an MP. Versi described the number of Islamophobic incidents as “truly staggering”.

Recommended

Will Boris Johnson step down as an MP?
Boris Johnson
Talking point

Will Boris Johnson step down as an MP?

What is ‘quiet quitting’?
Two men leave their office
In Depth

What is ‘quiet quitting’?

Energy bills: what to expect this winter
A gas ring
Getting to grips with . . .

Energy bills: what to expect this winter

What happened to Owami Davies?
Owami Davies
Speed Reads

What happened to Owami Davies?

Popular articles

Will China invade Taiwan?
Chinese troops on mobile rocket launchers during a parade in Beijing
Fact file

Will China invade Taiwan?

Is World War Three on the cards?
Ukrainian soldiers patrol on the frontline in Zolote, Ukraine
In Depth

Is World War Three on the cards?

Best new TV crime dramas of 2022
Roger Allam and Nancy Carroll in Murder in Provence
In Depth

Best new TV crime dramas of 2022

The Week Footer Banner