The UK Conservative party needs to tackle its own Islamophobia, says Muslim body
By Barfi Culture Team
31st May 2018

The UK's largest umbrella body of Muslim organisations, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), is calling on the UK Conservative party to conduct an independent inquiry into Islamophobia today.

The call came after it emerged that prominent Tory MP, Bob Blackman, was a member of a Facebook group titled 'Britain for the British,' run by a BNP supporter. He was also found to be a member of other racist groups such as 'For Britain Political Party' and 'Pendragons Fight Back'.

Mr Blackman removed himself from the groups when contacted by VICE, and says he did not know he had been added to them.

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi told BBC News this morning her own party had "buried its head in the sand" over the growing problem.

The MCB has sent a letter to the Conservative party chair Brandon Lewis MP.

"We are writing to you to formally request that you begin an independent inquiry into Islamophobia within the Conservative Party, including a full audit to ensure racists and bigots have no place in the party.

"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 re-tweeted an anti-Muslim post by the far-right extremist Tommy Robinson, hosted the anti-Muslim extremist Tapan Ghosh in Parliament (pictured above), shared an anti-Muslim post on Facebook and this week was found to have been a member of a number of Islamophobic Facebook groups."

Bob Blackman is Member of Parliament for Harrow East.

Other recent incidents

The MCB also highlighted several recent instances of anti-Muslim bigotry across the Conservative party:

· 5 April: Mike Payne, who shared an article which called Muslims ‘parasites’ who ‘live off the state and breed like rabbits’.

· 17 April: Alexander van Terheyden, who called Islam a ‘violent political ideology’ comparable to fascism and communism.

· 20 April: Darren Harrison, who was alleged to have links to Generation Identity, an anti-Islam organisation with strong links to far-right groups across Europe.

· 24 April: Phillipa Auton, who retweeted a tweet from Tommy Robinson and tweeted: "Revoke Muslim immigration, repatriate and secure European borders..." as a means of keeping Europe safe.

· 25 April: Peter Lucey who liked a page by right-wing extremist Tommy Robinson and Geert Wilders, the anti-Muslim Dutch politician, and made a number of posts about Islam and the English Defence League.

· 27 April: Nick Sundin, who tweeted the ‘Prophet Mohammed was a ‘f****** paedophile’

· 1 May: Karen Sunderland, who called Islam ‘the new Nazism’.

· 1 May: David Boston posted a picture of bacon hanging on a door handle as a way to 'protect your house from terrorism'.

· 23 May: Stephen Goldsack had formerly been the “Scottish security adviser” for the BNP in 2001, which led to the Muslim Council of Scotland accusing the Conservative Party of a “deep problem” of racism and Islamophobia.

Next steps

The MCB's secretary-general Harun Khan is urging the Conservative party to take four steps:

1. Launch a genuinely independent inquiry into Islamophobia within the members, structures, electoral campaigns and public representatives of the party.

2. Publish a list of incidents of Islamophobia within the party where action has already been taken.

3. Adopt a programme of education and training on Islamophobia.

4. Publicly reaffirm from the highest levels a commitment against bigotry wherever it is found.

The Conservative Party has released a generic statement saying: "We take all such incidents seriously, which is why we have suspended all those who have behaved inappropriately and launched immediate investigations."

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