Tuesday 25 May 2021
Anti-racists call for serious action on Tory Islamophobia in wake of Singh investigation report
Anti-racists have criticised Singh investigation report into the Conservative party for downplaying the extreme levels of Islamophobia in the party, while calling for more serious action to address the issues raised.
The report was immediately criticised by Muslim organisations for failing to recognise the widely accepted definition of Islamophobia, instead describing the term as âdeeply contestedâ â an error campaigners say is all the more serious in the context of a serious rise in Islamophobic hate crime and the ramping-up of government-led institutional Islamophobia through the Prevent strategy.
A YouGov poll last September found nearly half of Tory members believe Islam is a âa threat to the British way of lifeâ. As well as comments by Boris Johnson, high level examples of Islamophobia in the party include Tory MPs such as Bob Blackman and Nadine Dorries spreading Islamophobic smears on social media.
Campaigners believe the seriousness of Islamophobia in the Conservative party warrants a more thorough inquiry which recognises the existence of Islamophobia and mandates concrete action to address the shocking levels of this form of racism in Britainâs governing party.
Sabby Dhalu, Co-Convenor of Stand Up To Racism, said:
âBoris Johsonâs comments about women who wear the Burka happened in the context of a wave of violent Islamophobia, and were followed by Islamophobic attacks against Muslim women where his comments were parroted. For the report to say they gave the impression of being âinsensitive to Muslim communitiesâ is to completely miss the point â Islamophobia is a problem because it seriously affects peoples lives â not because of the impression it gives of those who express it.â
âThe fact that the governing party contains such levels of racism is an incredibly serious issue because of the direct effect on government policy and the prevalence of Islamophobia in society. These issues must be urgently addressed, and maximum pressure brought on the Tories to respect Muslim communities and listen to their experience.â
Weyman Bennett, Co-Convenor of Stand Up To Racism, said:
âIslamophobia is not a âdeeply contestedâ concept, it is a concrete reality for millions of Muslims, and evidence for shocking levels of Islamophobia in the Tory party is overwhelming.â
âDespite attempts in this report to downplay Islamophobia, it is vital we increase pressure to address it. The government must listen to Muslim organisations such as MEND who are calling for an EHRC investigation, and the MCB who are calling for the APPG definition of Islamophobia to be adopted.â
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