This is embarrassing for Keir Starmer’s Labour Party – and worsened by his wooden response to it.
A report by an organisation of Muslims in the party has found a whopping one-third people of their ethnicity have witnessed Islamophobia within the party.
Worse, 44 per cent said they do not believe the party takes Islamophobia seriously and 48 per cent have lost confidence in the party’s complaints structures, according to the Labour Muslim Network investigation.
And worst of all, 59 per cent of Muslims surveyed said they did not feel well represented by the party.
Those are massive figures. Remember the total amount of anti-Semitism in the party was found to be less than one per cent.
But faced with less than one per cent of the party behaving in an anti-Semitic way (probably even less than that, once you strip out everybody found to have been falsely accused and discriminated against by the EHRC, Labour leapt into action and launched what became, sadly, a witch-hunt.
Now, with evidence of considerably more Islamophobia, the party leadership that ignores the persecution of Palestine has made a perfunctory comment, promising to implement the report’s recommendations in a not-very-sincere way.
The wording is cut-and-pasted from press releases about anti-Semitism and both Starmer and his deputy Angela Rayner come across as not having thought about this as a serious issue at all.
Here’s what they said: “Islamophobia has no place in our party or society and we are committed to rooting it out.” Replace “Islamophobia” with “anti-Semitism” and you can see that this was taken from a template.
“We look forward to working with LMN to implement their recommendations and will be meeting with them to discuss the next steps in tackling the scourge of Islamophobia.” The word “scourge” is the ‘tell’ here – anti-Semitism was a scourge too.
Ali Milani, who stood against Boris Johnson in Uxbridge and South Ruislip in the last general election, revealed an incident that happened to him, after which his complaint to the party was lost. It took an entire year for him to receive a reply.
A fellow party member told him Muslims could not be MPs because of “their propensity to violence” and asked if he was a terrorist.
“It hurts to feel like I experienced that sort of abuse from a party member and it not only took a year for them to get back to me, but the complaint was lost.”
Here’s another party member:
“During 2020 Ramadan, I and another member asked the chair and the secretary of the councillors Labour Group to adjust the group’s meeting’s times to allow Muslim members to have a short beak for Iftar.”
(That’s the meal eaten after sunset by Muslims during Ramadan.)
“This was refused and when I argued I was told ‘you are weaponising your religion’. I have complained to the Labour Party complaints but have not heard back.”
And the Muslim Council of Britain’s spokesperson said:
“This new report is deeply concerning. It shows shocking levels of Islamophobia within the Labour Party, and a distrust amongst Muslim members of the leadership’s willingness to take this type of racism seriously.
“We have seen what happens when a political party lets Islamophobia go unchecked. The Conservative Party’s problem with Islamophobia is deep-rooted across every part of the party as it has engaged in denial, dismissal and deceit.
“We urge the Labour Party to avoid making the same mistakes as the Conservative Party has made, and look at how racism should be tackled, so that it can more fully represent its members and supporters.”
Fat chance! Or so it seems to This Writer.
The Tory Party has avoided being investigated for Islamophobia by the Equality and Human Rights Commission by claiming it will carry out its own inquiry. It has done absolutely nothing.
I expect a similar lack of exertion from Labour.
And, since the EHRC was happy to investigate Labour for anti-Semitism, I would certainly encourage Muslim members to request action from it on Labour Islamophobia too – if nothing tangible emerges within a reasonable period of time.
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