British Muslim group requests rights watchdog investigate Tory Islamophobia

British Muslim group requests equality watchdog investigate 'institutionally embedded' Tory Islamophobia
3 min read
12 December, 2019
Muslim group MEND has lodged an official request with the EHRC to investigate Islamophobia in the Conservative Party which it claims has a 'detrimental impact' on UK Muslims' political participation.
Protesters rally in Boris Johnson's constituency following his comments against burkas in 2018 [Getty]
An anti-Islamophobia organisation has lodged a formal request with the UK's Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to investigate anti-Muslim hate in the Conservative Party.

Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND) penned an open letter to EHRC chair David Isaacs reiterating the findings of its recent report that documents 120 instances of Islamophobia at the hands of Conservative MPs, councillors, and party candidates over the past five years.

The letter added that the report was compiled in response to the group's numerous calls for party to internally investigate the issues that have been ignored.

"We firmly believe that the institutionally embedded nature of Islamophobia within the Conservative Party amounts to a breach of equalities duties that has detrimental impacts to the political participation of British Muslims across the country," the letter stated.

Nine times the UK's Conservative Party were shockingly Islamophobic and got away with it

The letter also cites the fact that the former Chair of the Conservative Party, Sayeeda Warsi, has herself attested that the party has failed to address Islamophobia within its ranks. 

This failure "demonstrates the urgent need for an independent investigation into Islamophobia within the Conservative Party and the explicit inclusion of Islamophobia as a consideration within its members’ code of conduct", the letter said.

The EHRC, a UK public body responsible for the enforcement of equality and non-discrimination laws in the country, is currently undertaking a probe into allegations of antisemitism in the Labour Party.

Various Muslim groups in the UK have been trying to shine a light on the extent of anti-Muslim discrimination and hate within the Tory party in the run up to the general election.

Many of the claims revolve around the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.

In its 2018 report, Islamophobia watchdog Tell MAMA UK identified a siginificant spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes in the country in August after Johnson wrote a newspaper column referring to veiled Muslim women as "letterboxes" and "bank-robbers". 

In the week following his article, anti-Muslim incidents increased by 375 percent.

The Muslim Council of Britain accused the BBC on Tuesday of neglecting to report on the full extent of Islamophobia in the party, claiming it was tantamount to “incitement” against Muslims in the UK.

"The Conservative Party has an institutional, widespread problem with Islamophobia, which has been clearly documented both by the Muslim Council of Britain and other individuals, organisations and media outlets," said the group's Secretary General Harun Khan.

Previous criticism of Islamophobia in the party from the Council prompted Johnson to apologise for "all the hurt and offence that has been caused" and promised an independent inquiry into Islamophobia in the party despite claims by some the inquiry has been watered down.

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