- Advertisement -spot_imgspot_imgspot_img
11.2 C
Sunday, April 14, 2024

The Conservative Party grapples with Islamophobia after MP’s controversial remarks

In recent days, the Conservative party has been thrust into the spotlight yet again as the debate over Islamophobia reignites, fuelled by controversial remarks from MP Lee Anderson. Anderson, who represents Ashfield and previously held the position of deputy party chair, sparked widespread outrage with his comments,

He asserted: “I don’t actually believe that the Islamists have got control of our country, but what I do believe is that they’ve got control of Khan, and they’ve got control of London”.

Sadiq Khan says Anderson’s comments are ‘adding fuel to the fire of anti-Muslim hatred’ Image: Wikipedia

The fallout from Anderson’s remarks has been swift and fierce. Sadiq Khan condemned the comments, decrying them as ‘adding fuel to the fire of anti-Muslim hatred’. In response, the Conservative party took action, stripping Anderson of his role as Conservative Whip after he refused to apologise. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak condemned Anderson’s words. He said they “weren’t acceptable, they were wrong. That’s why he’s had the whip suspended.”

The condemnation wasn’t limited within the Conservative party. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer joined the chorus of voices denouncing Anderson’s comments, labelling them as racist and Islamophobic. Labour MP and Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary Anneliese Dodds echoed these sentiments, criticising the Prime Minister for what she saw as tolerance of extreme views.

Speaking on X (formally twitter) Anneliese Dodds said, “Rishi Sunak isn’t just tolerating extreme views, he’s offering them a pay rise. Lee Anderson already had a terrible track record when the Tories chose to pay him an extra 10K. Utter weakness from a Prime Minister who simply can’t govern”.

When interviewed on SKY News, she goes on to call the comments “unambiguously racist, Islamophobic and damaging.”

The Muslim Council of Britain, one of the largest organisations representing the Islamic faith in the UK has responded to the comments with grave concern. A spokesperson said:

“While we welcome Mr Anderson’s suspension, his comments did not occur in a vacuum and is only the tip of an iceberg. We have seen a week where Conservative politicians have brazenly leaned into the ‘Muslims are taking over’ trope. And Mr Anderson’s suspension has only taken place after widespread disgust. The Conservative Party has an Islamophobia problem. They need to own up to it.”

Allegations of Islamophobia in the Conservative Party have been made several times in the past, with allegations made concerning the opinions of Boris Johnson and other high-profile MPs.   There were also controversial comments made in October 2001 by former Prime Minister Lady Margret Thatcher: “I have not heard enough condemnation (of 9/11) by Muslim Priests”.

Similar concerns were raised back in 2018 with Baroness Warsi voicing her opinion that anti – Muslim prejudice had “poisoned” the party.

When asked for a response to the controversy, the Conservative press office replied:

“An investigation and subsequent independent review, both conducted over several years by Professor Swaran Singh, found no evidence of institutional racism in the Conservative Party.”

This refers to what is known as the Singh Investigation. In December 2019, the Conservatives commissioned consultant psychiatrist Swaran Singh with looking into issues such as race and religion, but in particular prejudice against Muslims. Professor Singh was also asked to make recommendations for change.

The Singh Investigation made comprehensive and challenging recommendations to overhaul complaints processes, which the Party accepted in full, and has sought to implement. The main recommendations were:

  • Updating the Party’s Code of Conduct.
  • Implementing a new complaints process with greater transparency.
  • Adapting a zero – tolerance approach toward and form of discrimination

The Conservative Party website states:

“The Singh Investigation made twenty-seven comprehensive and challenging recommendations to overhaul our complaints processes, which the Party accepted in full.”

However, against the backdrop of ongoing tensions within the Muslim community, exacerbated by events like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and alarming hate crime statistics, which indicate a significant number of crimes against Muslims, it’s evident that Anderson’s comments touch on a sensitive and pressing issue that demands attention and action.

- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest News