Muslim leaders urge 'respect and tolerance' during General Election

British Muslim leaders urge 'respect and tolerance' during heated General Election, marked by Islamophobia, antisemitism
3 min read
11 December, 2019
The statement, according to Birmingham Mail was signed by a number of imams and leaders in the mosque, which boasts over 3,000 attendees.
Leaders at a Birmingham mosque are urging their Muslim practitioners not only to do their duty and vote in the UK's upcoming General Election but also to do so in a spirit of respect and tolerance, as polling day approaches.

Imams from Green Lane Masjid and Community Centre have penned a letter to Muslims encouraging them to "embody respectable character and moral principles".

The letter comes as over a dozen Conservative Party members have been suspended or let go over Islamophobic comments they made or shared on social media.

The statement, according to Birmingham Mail was signed by a number of imams and leaders in the mosque, which boasts over 3,000 attendees.

"In recent years, political conversations have been saturated by debates surrounding Brexit, Islamophobia, anti-semitism and the teaching of RSA in schools. As a result of this, the Muslim community have noticeably become more politically engaged," he said.

The letter goes on to talk about the Muslim vote, which they say can be "critical" in the upcoming election. 

With some five per cent of the UK made up of Muslims, they write, it is crucial to be part of the democratic process, especially given that they make up the "diverse fabric of the multi-cultural British experience".

Masjid Birmingham
Leaders urge Muslims to be calm during the election [Green Lane Masjid] 

The letter went on to say the general election "sparked a significant rise in political interest amongst Muslims".

"We must, in all instances, embody respectable character and moral principles. In the age of social media, it has become all too easy to smear and insult others publicly."

Islamophobia on the rise

Islamophobic incidents increased by 375 percent in the week Boris Johnson compared women who wear the burqa to letterboxes, research by monitoring group Tell Mama found.

The research, published in September found that three weeks after The Daily Telegraph column was published, 42 percent of offline Islamophobic incidents reported "directly referenced Boris Johnson and/or the language used in his column".

"Mr Johnson faced no punitive action from the Conservative Party and many high-profile figures offered their support for his right to freely speak about Islamic clothing," the report went on.

Some will feel emboldened by the lack of sufficient castigation from the Conservative Party towards Mr Johnson and will use it as a pretext to act on their underlying prejudices and racist views.

The Conservative Party has been repeatedly accused of having a systemic problem within its ranks, with the Muslim Council of Britain recently going so far as to say it has a "blind spot" for this type of racism.

Tory members have been suspended for retweeting racist and Islamophobic content, including one unnamed councilor in England who retweeted a series of posts, one of which included a picture of bacon followed by the caption: "Syrian Christian test: If they eat it, let them in."

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