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The New Arab Staff

Nearly half of UK Tories believe Islam is 'threat to British way of life'

Boris had his fair share of Islamophobic comments [Getty]

Date of publication: 30 September, 2020

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A new poll has found almost 50 percent of Conservative Party members in the UK consider Islam to be a 'fundamental threat to British life'.
Almost half of Conservative Party members believe that Islam is "a threat to the British way of life", according to a new poll, confirming that Britain’s leading party appears to have a problem with Islam.

Anti-racism campaigners Hope Not Hate commissioned a YouGov poll in order to measure anti-Muslim sentiments among Conservative members, given the recent spat of accusations against Boris Johnson's party.

The poll found that forty-seven per cent of Conservative members who were surveyed feel Islam is "generally a threat to the British way of life".

A majority of those surveyed, fifty-seven per cent, revealed they had negative attitudes towards Muslims, and fifty-eight percent of people believed the Islamophobic conspiracy theories referring to "no-go areas" in Britain.

In startling statistics, half of those surveyed believes Islam "breeds intolerance".

Just over one quarter believed that religion was "compatible" with the country, and 31 percent believed discrimination against Muslims was a serious issue in the country.

"The Conservative Party has to face up to the widespread anti-Muslim prejudice in its ranks if it ever hopes to eradicate the problem," Nick Lowles, chief executive of Hope not Hate, said.

"It's difficult to argue against the proof. The real question is how bold the Conservatives will be in taking action."

The group presented the survey, along with examples of 40 Conservative MPs, activists and councillors who expressed "discriminatory and prejudiced" views but did not experience any action nor consequence.

The party has been struggling under the weight of several Islamophobic instances. An activist had been suspended for making an Islamophobic joke in the wake of the
Christchurch Mosque shooting, and was readmitted to the party of taking an "online diversity course".

He continued to make disparaging comments about Muslims on Facebook.

In another instance a councillor refused to apologise for Islamophobic statements he made online. No disciplinary action was taken and he did not resign until two years later due to a different matter altogether.

The Conservative Party has a history of Islamophobia that has been well documented in the past few years.

Last year a Conservative councillor responded to a tweet in March, writing: "Islam and slavery are partners in crime."

Anjana Patel, who was the Conservative candidate in Brent North, tweeted 22-year-old Pakistani Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai in 2019, demanding to know "how are you going to help?" after two Hindu girls were allegedly kidnapped.

She went on to tweet that the girls were "molested and forcibly converted" to "your religion, Islam".

Patel later deleted her account.

Read more: There is nothing unconscious about Tory bias

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson himself has been embroiled in several scandals regarding past comments he made about Muslims.

In a column for The Daily Telegraph in August 2018, Johnson compared women wearing burqas to "letter boxes".

In the £275,000-a-year column, Johnson wrote it was "absolutely ridiculous" that "people should choose to go around looking like letter boxes".

He added: "If a constituent came to my MP's surgery with her face obscured, I should feel fully entitled… to ask her to remove it so that I could talk to her properly."

A year later he apologised on Sky News for "any offence" his column caused.

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