The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has called on the Conservative Party to suspend Stourbridge Conservative Association in the West Midlands following the resignation of its Deputy Chairman over Islamophobia in the party.
In an interview with the BBC, Kyle Pedley said he quit the Tories after a prospective candidate for a nomination to stand in council elections was subject to an inappropriate line of questioning about his religion.
This questioning included” “are you really a Muslim? Do you pray 5 times a day? How many times do you go to the mosque? How many Muslims do you think there are in the world?”
Pedley said he made complaints to Conservative Central Office and the office of the party’s Chairman, James Cleverly, but did not receive a response.
Commenting on the resignation, Harun Khan, Secretary General of the MCB, said: “The barrage of questioning the prospective candidate faced solely due to their Muslimness is unacceptable. The local party must be suspended immediately whilst an investigation takes place.
“This is yet another example demonstrating how the Conservative Party has proven itself to be fertile breeding ground for Islamophobia. What more needs to happen for the party to acknowledge the problem?
“As the General Election draws closer, many British Muslims will want to vote for the Conservatives, as they have done before. We fear many will be held back by the systemic Islamophobia that exists in the party, and will remain sceptical of claims of an anti-racist Conservative Party.
“It now must accept responsibility, commit to an independent inquiry into Islamophobia, and genuinely seek to tackle anti-Muslim racism in its ranks.”
Earlier this week the Conservatives suspended a number of members over claims of Islamophobic social media posts.
The Guardian said it had seen details of racist content posted, shared or endorsed by 25 sitting and ex-Tory councillors. It said it handed a dossier containing the allegations, produced by an anonymous Twitter user, to the Conservative Party.
A Conservative spokesperson said the individuals named in the dossier had been “suspended immediately, pending investigation.”
The spokesperson said: “The Conservative Party will never stand by when it comes to prejudice and discrimination of any kind. That’s why we are already establishing the terms of an investigation to make sure that such instances are isolated and robust processes are in place to stamp them out as and when they occur.”
Earlier this year a number of Conservative Party members were suspended, after the BBC highlighted 20 cases to the party of members posting or endorsing Islamophobic material online.