World, Europe

Muslim body claims UK Tories neglect party Islamophobia

In follow-up letter, Muslim Council of Britain criticizes Conservatives for not responding to their calls for an inquiry

Muslim body claims UK Tories neglect party Islamophobia file photo

By Muhammad Mussa


The Muslim Council of Britain has written a second open letter to the Conservative Party criticizing it for not responding to calls for an inquiry into, and neglecting, the issue of Islamophobia in the party.

“Three weeks ago we wrote to you requesting an inquiry into Islamophobia within the Conservative party, sadly we have neither received an acknowledgement nor a reply,” began the letter, written by Harun Khan, the group’s head.

“This lack of response is deeply disappointing given that we write as the largest umbrella body of Muslim organizations in the UK with over 1,000 mosques and Muslim institutions either affiliates or members of affiliates,” the letter added.

The letter argued that it seems “the extent of Islamophobia in the Conservatives is wider and deeper than originally set out”.

Backing its argument, the letter cited newfound evidence such as “claims that Cabinet Minister Michael Gove had ‘extreme’ views about Muslims” and that an ethnic slur had been used to refer Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, a House of Lords member, at Tory meetings, as well as many Conservative party candidates such as Shazia Awan and Kushan Devani quitting the party due to its extreme turn to the right.

“Since we last wrote to you, other individuals have shared with us their stories of experiencing Islamophobia,” the letter said. “They are worried about taking their concerns to your party because it would be ‘political suicide’ or might endanger their relationship with their local MP.”

“This is a sad state of affairs for our democracy and we hope they can be taken up in an independent inquiry,” the letter said.

In a letter to the Tories last month, the council called for an independent inquiry into Islamophobia within the party. The letter documented “weekly occurrences of Islamophobia in the party” and urged the Conservative leadership to take action against members who were explicitly Islamophobic.

The letter received strong backing and support from a plethora of groups, societies, and individuals in the U.K. who furthered the calls for an inquiry, including editorials in The Times of London and The Observer newspapers.

Senior politicians such as Warsi, fellow House of Lords member Mohamed Sheikh, and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn have backed the council’s calls for an inquiry, as have multiple organizations such as the National Union of Students, Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS), the Union of Jewish Students, and over 500 mosques and Islamic institutions.

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