Tories 'signalling Islamophobia is acceptable' by failing to tackle it within party, say Hope not Hate

Charity claims party is in denial about size of issue and does not take complaints seriously

Colin Drury
Sunday 17 February 2019 16:05
Comments
Boris Johnson, who compared Muslim women wearing burqas to "bank robbers" - but was found by a party inquiry to have used "tolerant" words
Boris Johnson, who compared Muslim women wearing burqas to "bank robbers" - but was found by a party inquiry to have used "tolerant" words

The Conservatives are “signalling Islamophobia is acceptable” by failing to act against anti-Muslim sentiment within the party, a new report by a leading anti-racism charity is to warn.

Tories are in denial about the issue, the State of Hate 2019 report by Hope Not Hate will say.

And it will accuse the party of not taking seriously complaints of such Islamophobia about either local activists or high-profile politicians such as Boris Johnson.

The former foreign secretary was made the subject of an internal inquiry in August after comparing Muslim women in burqas to letterboxes and bank robbers – but the panel found his words, used in “satire”, had been “respectful and tolerant”.

Other examples of apparent Islamophobia within the party highlighted by the report include Shaun Bailey, a one-time candidate for London mayor, retweeting a picture labelling Sadiq Khan the “mad mullah of Londonistan”, and MP Michael Fabricant posting a cartoon showing Mr Khan appearing to engage in a sex act with a pig.

The London mayor is a Muslim, and eating pork is a sin in Islam.

The paper also raises concerns about MPs – including Jacob Rees-Mogg and Andrew Rosindell – found to be members of a pro-Tory Facebook group littered with anti-Muslim comments including those demanding the religion be banned in the UK as a “threat" to the country.

Both Mr Rees-Mogg and Mr Rosindell deny knowledge of the group.

“There remains a stark political issue here for the Conservatives,” Nick Lowles, chief executive of Hope Not Hate, told HuffPost UK.

“Unless the Conservatives have chosen to cynically abandon the Muslim vote in upcoming elections to solidify their hold on anti-Muslim supporters, they must stop signalling to voters they find Islamophobia acceptable within its ranks and visibly address the growing problem.”

A spokeswoman for the Conservatives denied the report’s findings.

She said: “When cases have been reported centrally, the Conservative Party has consistently acted decisively, suspending or expelling those involved and launching an immediate investigation.

“The swift action we take on not just anti-Muslim discrimination, but discrimination of any kind, is testament to the seriousness with which we take such issues.”

Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events

Other separate issues addressed in Hope Not Hate's report include the apparent rise of neo-Nazis in the UK, including some as young as 13.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in