Why do so many Muslims still vote Labour?

Labour Party. Editorial credit: chrisdorney / Shutterstock.com

Riaz Sobrany says that a significant number of Muslims will still vote Labour in this General Election despite its support for genocidal Israel, and this is mainly due to religious illiteracy as well as many other problematic reasons.

A few days ago 5Pillars posted a question on its social media pages: “It’s predicted that 50 per cent or more of our community will still vote Labour on July 4 despite its complicity with genocide in Gaza. Why do you think this is and how can we be more effective in dissuading Muslims from voting Labour?”

And it is without doubt true that despite the social media noise and genuine mass Muslim mobilisation in our community against Labour, so many of our brothers and sisters just cannot be persuaded to ditch the party.

There are several reasons for this:

Religious illiteracy 

Probably the most important reason is a lack of understanding of their obligations to the Ummah as guided by Islam.

There are really no magic bullet solutions to this problem although better political education is definitely required. Unfortunately, this will take many years so it is of limited use in the few weeks left before the General Election.

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Old habits die hard

Millions of voters stubbornly stick with Labour because they have always voted Labour, or because their parents and grandparents always voted Labour.

Fed up with Tories

A large number of Muslims have reached the end of their tether after 14 years of Conservative government. Enough is enough. They just want rid of this obnoxious party in government, so feel that it is expedient to vote for the “lesser of two evils,” namely Labour, rather than for a trustworthy candidate outside of the political establishment who opposes Zionism and represents the interests of Muslims.

Nepotism and the biraderi vote

Family members of Muslim Labour MPs will vote for them irrespective of their stance on Palestine or their voting record. So will people from the same caste or village in the Indian subcontinent.

An overwhelming number of community elders and masajid committee members (who are often on the wrong side of the digital divide) steadfastly stick with supporting Labour, and their decisions impact the rest of local Muslim communities.

In some cases these elders continue to support Labour, and encourage the community to do the same, to repay favours granted decades ago – like giving planning permission for a masjid extension and minaret back in 1983.

A lack of credible alternatives

The quality of independent and Workers Party of Britain candidates is variable. Many are egomaniacs campaigning on a platform of populism who lack well thought-out and in-depth policies on domestic issues.

Whilst many Muslims will vote for them simply on Palestine, others will not because they don’t have good policies on education, health, jobs, taxation and finance, etc.

To be fair, the selection of candidates and the election campaign was rushed which did not provide sufficient time to develop a wide range of well thought-out and in-depth policies on many issues.

Also, George Galloway saying the right things about Palestine doesn’t make him a saviour of the Muslims. He is a career politician with his own agenda (just read the policies and ideology of the Workers Party of Britain for more insight) who has courted Muslims for his own political gain.


A selfish short-term approach prioritising domestic issues over Palestine. Surveys have revealed that the cost of living crisis and the (state of the) NHS are higher priority issues for Muslims than Gaza is. Young people are more concerned about housing, jobs, and tuition fees than foreign policy.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs means that foreign policy on Gaza (despite it being truly horrific) is low down as it has no immediate impact on everyday lives of most people.


A poor understanding of how the election system works. My own experience has revealed that many Muslims are unaware that the country is divided into constituencies and your vote only counts in your constituency. Instead, they think you either vote for the Prime Minister or for a party in general.

That way, independent candidates and candidates from small parties will be pushed aside in favour of Labour as they are seen as the only party that can stop the Conservatives winning the general election.

Such people often struggle to comprehend that Labour will most likely win the general election even if 20 independent Muslim and Workers Party of Britain MPs are elected, so there is no good reason to vote Labour rather than for an independent Muslim or Workers Party of Britain candidate.

Public sector voters

Public sector workers are far more inclined to vote Labour than private sector workers are. This is something that appears to have been overlooked in the run up to the election.

For the past 30 years, public sector workers have constituted the backbone of Labour, sticking with the party regardless of its leader. My experience is that the majority of Muslims who work in the public sector overwhelmingly hold an attitude of “public services first Palestine second.”

The big trade unions show their presence at Palestine demonstrations, but none of them have disassociated with Labour over their foreign policy on Gaza, and all of them are backing Labour at this General Election.

Fear of reprisals

What will the media think if independent Muslim candidates – or even Workers Party of Britain candidates – are elected as MPs?! Especially if Reform UK wins over 3 million votes but fails to elect an MP.

Independent Muslim MPs will be viewed as a blight on the face of the nation (that is even worse than the BNP) by the media and the business community. Any city with independent Muslim MPs will potentially experience disinvestment and business closures as a result, leading to significant job losses – including for Muslims.

A non-Muslim from Birmingham verbally informed me that the best way to have stopped HS2 from being built was to elect independent Muslim MPs in Birmingham back in 2010!

What can we do?

I think we just have to accept that a significant fraction of Muslims will stubbornly stick with Labour through thick and thin for the foreseeable future and just cannot be persuaded to switch parties.

So instead we should focus our campaign efforts on people who do not vote as there was a significant proportion of Muslims who stayed at home in the 2019 general election.

In the past the BNP was successful at tapping the “no voters.” In fact, they managed to win a few council elections from Labour where there was actually an increase in the number of Labour votes from the previous election. It was almost as if the BNP had won the election from Labour without taking any votes from Labour!

Another tactic is to court votes from Muslims who vote for a party other than Labour. In most constituencies with large Muslim populations, a vote for Conservatives, Lib Dems, Green Party, far left, or even Reform UK Party is a wasted vote as candidates are unlikely to win that constituency. Try to persuade anybody who intends to vote other than Labour to vote for an independent Muslim candidate instead.

But overall, I am not too optimistic about this election for independent Muslim candidates or Workers Party of Britain candidates. After factoring out vote splitting, many candidates will achieve strong results of over 20% but I think it’s unlikely that any will win. Even the bookies don’t seem confident – and they usually get things right.

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