Six times the Conservative party has faced Islamophobia allegations

Six times the Conservative party has faced Islamophobia allegations
Nusrat Ghani’s claim of Islamophobia a ‘lame excuse’ for sacking, says Michael ...
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The Conservative government is under fire again after more allegations of Islamophobia have emerged in recent days.

Conservative MP Nusrat Ghani claims she was sacked as a minister for her “Muslimness”. The cabinet office is now investigating the allegations.

It’s far from the first time the Conservative party and even some of its individual party members have been accused of Islamophobia.

Here are six times they’ve been accused.

Boris Johnson on Muslim women

In 2018, the now-prime minister compared Muslim women who wear a burqa or the niqab to "bank robbers" and "letter boxes."

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Johnson made the comments in a column in the Daily Telegraph and was urged by the then-PM, Theresa May, to apologise.

According to the group Tell Mama, Johnson’s remarks were “directly referenced” in 42 per cent of reported offline Islamophobic incidents in the 3 weeks following the article’s publication in August 2018.

Suspended councillors reinstated

In March 2019, news emerged that over a dozen Conservative councillors who had been suspended for posting Islamophobic or racist content had been reinstated.

An investigation by The Guardian found that 15 party members, some of whom had compared Asian people to dogs and called Saudi Arabians “sand peasants” had been reinstated.

Tories host fringe event called Challenging 'Islamophobia’

At the party conference in 2019, it emerged that a fringe event was held aimed at tackling Islamophobia, but it instead descended into discussing extremists and how the definition of Islamophobia should not be too defined so as not to disrupt free speech.

The event was allegedly hosted by the think tank Policy Exchange, but rather than actually tackling Islamophobia, two members of the panel were accused of defending Boris Johnson’s comments about Muslim women.

Panellist Qanta Ahmed allegedly said there should be no official definition of Islamophobia because it would “advance” the aims of Islamists.

A statement that was read out said: “Western political and intellectual elite weaponise the term Islamophobia.”

Another panellist used the words “Muslim victimhood” and another joked about fellow panellist Trevor Phillips having been named “Islamophobe of the year”.

Half of Conservatives believes Islam is a threat

A poll of card-carrying Conservative party members found that six in 10 hold a negative towards Muslims.

The 2020 YouGov poll, commissioned by the organisation Hope Not Hate, found that of 1,213 Conservative members, almost six in 10 rated the Muslim community 50 or below when asked to score their feelings towards religious minority groups on a scale of 0-100.

Around one-fifth of members gave a score of under 20, indicating a very negative attitude towards Muslims.

Almost half believed that Islam was “a threat to the British way of life” and almost six in ten indicated they believe “there are no-go areas in Britain where sharia law dominates and non-Muslims cannot enter”.

Former Conservative party chair Sayeeda Warsi told press at the time: “This latest poll is further evidence that the party has a real and serious issue with racism directed at Muslims.

“It’s been consistently raised with the party since 2015. The refusal of the party to take the matter seriously has meant that these abhorrent views have been allowed to fester and grow – the culture of impunity must stop.”

Inquiry into Islamaphobia excluded Muslim Tories, politician claims

A report published in 2021 from an inquiry into institutional Islamophobia in the Conservative party was criticised as a “whitewash”, “not fit for purpose” and the party was accused of deliberately excluding Muslim members.

Speaking on a podcast with The Guardian, Sajjad Karim, who served as a Member of the European Parliament for the North West England between 2004 and 2019, said he believes only certain people were called upon to give evidence so it went “in a certain direction”.

He claimed: “I’m not the only one that finds himself in this position. There are many others who simply were excluded from the process. And I think quite intentionally.”

The report itself found that between 2015 and 2020 1,418 complaints were made. Of them, 727 were for alleged incidents of discrimination – 496 related to Muslims and Islam.

Of his findings, Professor Swaran Singh’s said: “Judging by the extent of complaints and findings of misconduct by the party itself that relate to anti-Muslim words and conduct, anti-Muslim sentiment remains a problem within the party.

“This is damaging to the party, and alienates a significant section of society.”

Nusrat Ghani sacked for “Muslimness”

Conservative MP Nusrat Ghani claimed she lost her role in the Department for Transport in a 2018 mini-reshuffle due to her “Muslimness”.

She was reportedly told that if she pursued a complaint, she “would be ostracised and her career and reputation would be destroyed”.

Ghani told The Sunday Times: “I raised it several more times through official party channels.... I was extremely careful to follow procedure, and when the procedure ran out of road I had no choice but to get on with my career.”

Chief whip Mark Spencer identified himself as the person involved, but denied the allegations made against him.

Boris Johnson has launched an inquiry into Ghani’s claims to “establish the facts”.

indy100 has contacted the Conservative Party to comment on all the above allegations.

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