MCB urges Tories to deal with Islamophobia within party

Prime Minister Theresa May

The Muslim Council of Britain has written to Conservative Party Chair Brandon Lewis requesting an inquiry into Islamophobia within the party.

The MCB said their letter came after a stream of Islamophobic incidents from Bob Blackman MP was revealed without any action being taken.

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

The MCB said that last month there were more than weekly occurrences of Islamophobia from candidates and representatives of the Conservative Party including the following public examples:

Bob Blackman MP
  • 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.

The MCB letter, written by the Secretary General Harun Khan, states: “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 is not the only one who has fostered Islamophobia in your party. Just last month, there were more than weekly occurrences of Islamophobia from candidates and representatives of the Conservative Party…

“Furthermore, the inaction taken in high-profile cases, sends a signal that Islamophobia is to be tolerated in the Conservative party.”

The MCB urged Mr Lewis to consider four steps, including the launch of a genuine independent inquiry, publishing a list of incidents of Islamophobia within the party where action has been taken, as well as adopting a programme of education and training on Islamophobia.

Responding to the letter, a Conservative spokesman said: “We take all such incidents seriously, which is why we have suspended all those who have behaved inappropriately and launched immediate investigations.”

And in statement Bob Blackman MP said he “utterly refutes” any allegations of Islamophobia.

“I did not host Tapan Ghosh in parliament. He was invited by an organisation without my knowledge. In the past I shared a social media post in error which I apologised for at the time. I will continue working with all communities in my constituency and I condemn Islamophobia,” he said.

Add your comments below