Muslim Council of Britain calls for urgent inquiry into Tory islamophobia
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has written to the chair of the Conservative Party, Brandon Lewis MP, to demand an independent inquiry into rampant bigotry in the party, after the Conservative Bob Blackman MP let off a stream of islamophobia with zero consequences.
The MCB is the largest umbrella organisation representing the UK’s more than two million Muslims.
The letter from MCB chair Harun Khan to Lewis states that:
“Upon becoming Chair of the Conservative Party, you admirably launched the Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament and local election candidates, which includes the requirement to “encourage and foster respect and tolerance”, and you have since called on people to email you if they hear of bigotry within the party.
“Yet no action has been taken against Bob Blackman MP who has now shown a consistent record of endorsing Islamophobia… Mr Blackman is not the only one who has fostered Islamophobia in your party. Just last month, there were more than weekly occurrences of Islamophobia from candidates and representatives of the Conservative Party”.
You can read the full letter here.
Blackman claims that he shared islamophobic social media posts “in error” - a very common Tory refrain when their bigotry is pointed out. Readers may recall the same excuse was used when the re-instated Tory councillor in Pendle ‘accidentally’ shared a Facebook post comparing asians to dogs.
Some examples of the ‘weekly’ bigotry against Muslims from Conservative candidates and representatives include:
- Sharing articles which call Muslims ‘parasites’
- Links with far-right anti-Muslim organisations
- Liking social media posts from far-right figures - including calls to ‘repatriate’ European Muslims
- Calling Islam the ‘new Nazism’
- A former BNP member turned Scottish Conservative councillor
Conservative Baroness Sayeeda Warsi has said that there is a ‘simmering underbelly of islamaphobia’ in the party.
Blackman has also been accused of associating with Hindu nationalist Tapan Ghosh, who has been jailed at least five times in India for ‘stoking religious tensions.’ Concerns have risen in the subcontinent about the safety of India’s Muslim minority ever since the extreme right winger Narendra Modi, who is supported by Ghosh, was elected in 2014. Modi has been accused of condoning anti-muslim pogroms when he was the Chief Minister of the state of Gujurat.