Greater than 1 / 4 of Muslim members and supporters of the Labour Social gathering have skilled Islamophobia inside the ranks of the celebration, a report from the Labour Muslim Community (LMN) claims. With some members or supporters being known as “terrorists” or “foreigners”, others have been accused of plotting to “takeover” the celebration. Some have even been subjected to stereotypes about “grooming gangs”.
Coming so quickly after the Equality and Human Rights Fee’s (EHRC) damning investigation into Antisemitism, these findings not solely increase additional questions in regards to the Labour celebration’s rank and file but additionally the extent to which Islamophobia is being taken severely. Given the file of allegations of Islamophobia that the Conservative Social gathering is but to reply to, the identical questions might be requested there.
The LMN report makes for uneasy studying. In addition to the 29% of Muslim members claiming to have skilled Islamophobia inside the Labour celebration, a couple of in three declare to have witnessed it (37%). The report claims that almost half of Muslim members (44%) don’t imagine the Labour Social gathering takes the problem of Islamophobia severely. Practically half (48%) of these requested mentioned they haven’t any confidence within the celebration’s process for coping with complaints of Islamophobia successfully.
Having already seen giant numbers of Jewish supporters flip away from the celebration, it’s potential the identical would possibly occur with Muslim voters if the management shouldn’t be seen to behave quick and successfully. Even then, that might not be sufficient. Because the LMN analysis exhibits, greater than half of Muslim members (55%) don’t belief the celebration management to deal with Islamophobia successfully.
A part of that downside could also be that Muslims don’t really feel represented within the management and shadow cupboard.
Islamophobia within the Conservative celebration
Whereas the present highlight is on the Labour celebration, we should always not overlook that allegations of widespread Islamophobia within the Conservative celebration emerged greater than two years in the past. Again then, Conservative peer Sayeeda Warsi, former co-chair of the celebration, mentioned Islamophobia was:
“very widespread … from the grassroots, all the way in which as much as the highest”. She added that it was “one thing the management feels could be simply ignored”.
Her feedback got here within the wake of the Muslim Council of Britain’s (MCB) name for an impartial inquiry into the celebration. Citing proof of weekly Islamophobic incidents involving celebration representatives and candidates, the MCB despatched an open letter to Brandon Lewis, the then chair of the celebration, to ask him to analyze the problem.
The MCB’s record of incidents makes for equally uncomfortable studying. They included a Conservative celebration member posting an image of slices of bacon on a door deal with as “safety from terrorism”, and a member referring to Islam as the brand new Nazism. One other retweeted posts by former English Defence League chief Tommy Robinson and one other shared an article describing Muslims as parasites who dwell off the state and breed like rabbits.
Over the past celebration management contest, all of the candidates pledged to analyze Islamophobia in the event that they have been elected. Nonetheless, the eventual winner, Boris Johnson, has did not uphold his pledge. He has, as an alternative, commissioned an inquiry into how the celebration offers with discrimination circumstances extra typically. An inquiry is welcome however this method fails to deal with the exact motive why an inquiry into Islamophobia was deemed crucial and lumps all types of discrimination collectively, thereby deflecting consideration away from the precise matter of Islamophobia. The MCB claims the Conservatives’ method to Islamophobia being one in all denial, dismissal and deceit.
Getting away with it
From my ongoing analysis into Islamophobia within the political mainstream, a variety of arguments could be put ahead to elucidate why Islamophobia stays an issue for each Labour and the Conservatives alike. The primary is that few mainstream political actors actually care about Islamophobia, thereby rendering it fairly unimportant. Regardless of usually paying lip-service to the matter, it all the time shortly disappears from the political agenda.
We’ve additionally seen that mainstream political actors can actively deploy and espouse Islamophobia for private and political acquire with out concern of recourse or censure. There isn’t a higher illustration than Johnson referring to Muslim girls who put on the niqab trying like “letterboxes” or “financial institution robbers”. David Cameron, who was prime minister on the time these remarks have been made, reportedly instructed Johnson to apologise. He seems to have refused. Not solely that, however he quickly went on to turn into the celebration chief. What higher technique to present somebody that there are not any penalties for such rhetoric?
What’s extra, the mainstream media’s angle in direction of Islamophobia is worryingly completely different compared to different types of bigotry and hate. Inside 24 hours of Johnson’s feedback about “letterboxes”, some media retailers have been encouraging debate about whether or not some types of Muslim gown ought to be banned, somewhat than specializing in holding him accountable.
The ultimate argument was evident in a current report from thinktank the Woolf Institute, which discovered that almost 1 / 4 of individuals surveyed didn’t imagine that non secular range has been good for the nation. Drill down a bit deeper and it’s Islam and Muslims versus faith that’s seen to be the issue. Clearly most people are akin to their political representatives.
Which culminates within the query: who cares about Islamophobia? Regardless of the Runnymede Belief claiming greater than three many years in the past that Islamophobia was a problem for us all, the identical doesn’t appear to ring true in 2020.
Chris Allen doesn’t work for, seek the advice of, personal shares in or obtain funding from any firm or organisation that will profit from this text, and has disclosed no related affiliations past their tutorial appointment.