Sajid Javid was left out of the president's state banquet – another Muslim thrown under the Trump bus

At first glance, it looks like anyone related to a bus driver is anathema to Trump. He has some little-explored psychological condition. We could call it Routemasterphobia

Nazir Afzal
Tuesday 04 June 2019 16:38
Sadiq Khan calls Donald Trump 'poster boy of far right'

When I learnt from The Independent that our home secretary, Sajid Javid – uniquely among our senior cabinet members – had not been invited to the state banquet in honour of president Trump, I began thinking.

Following his outrageous Twitter comments about London mayor, Sadiq Khan, I wondered if there was a pattern in his ostracising sons of Pakistani Muslim immigrant bus drivers.

I recalled how when I was chief prosecutor, the US State Department had regularly contacted me between 2008 and November 2016 to learn from us how we were tackling forced marriage (I was national lead and had twice spoken at events in New York with them). And I recalled how that had suddenly stopped with after Trump’s election.

Now, I know my dad wasn’t a bus driver, but then again one of my uncles was for a short time. Surely it was not beyond the skills of the US secret service to find that out?

Clearly, that was it. Anybody who is related to a bus driver is anathema to Trump. He has some little-explored psychological condition. We could call it Routemasterphobia.

It can’t be because we are all of Muslim heritage because he is mates with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. And after all, it’s unlikely that anyone in the Saudi royal family has ever driven a bus.

It is worrying though that British senior leaders of Muslim heritage get the same treatment as Congresswomen of Muslim heritage. I know that neither Ilhan Omar, nor her father have been bus drivers, though to be fair, she and I shared one in Istanbul a couple of years ago. The secret service has eyes and ears everywhere.

But that’s enough of the sarcasm. If we add all of this evidence to the executive order that amounted to a Muslim travel ban, and to Trump and family’s disgusting treatment of Palestinian officials and there is another pattern developing. It has nothing to do with buses and everything to do with a hatred of Muslims.

Some 170 people who are not currently home secretary managed to sneak in to the state banquet last night. Apparently the list was drawn up by Buckingham Palace, with input from the government and also, perhaps crucially, from the US embassy too.

Maybe Javid has been sidelined because he condemned the president back in 2017 for sharing Islamophobic tweets from the far-right extremist group Britain First. Some close to Javid have even joked that he was confused with Khan.

Either way, our leaders need to call this out for what it is. This is no time to be throwing Javid, Khan or anyone else under the troubling Trump bus.

Nazir Afzal OBE was Chief Crown Prosecutor for NW England and formerly Director in London. Most recently, he was Chief Executive of the country’s Police & Crime Commissioners.

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