Islamophobia issue in UK


In Britain, a new debate over Islamophobia within the society has polluted the political scenario. A number of Labour supporters and even the Leader Jeremy Corbyn has demanded a through enquiry into the allegations that the Conservative Government has not appropriate measure to counter this challenge. Prime Minister Theresa May had likely thought she had done her bit. After all, following last summer’s Finsbury Park mosque attack, the British Prime Minister finally recognised Islamophobia as a form of extremism. The Labour leader backed calls for an investigation on Monday night after Home Secretary Sajid Javid rejected the proposition of an inquiry, which gained support from Conservative Peer Baroness Warsi. Mr Corbyn told the Press Association at a west London mosque that he thinks if there are allegations made then an inquiry should be held and it should be addressed and it should be dealt with. He was of the view that Islamophobia, as with anti-Semitism, as with any other form of racism, has no place whatsoever in our society or in any of our political parties. Nobody should be condoning it, nobody should be hiding it, and everybody should be exposing it.
The Tories have been under pressure since the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) called for an investigation, highlighting a range of claims including candidates and other representatives allegedly having far-right connections or sending offensive tweets. Fast-forward to today and the Conservatives are in hot water over claims of turning a blind eye to this at the party level. Indeed, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) – an umbrella organisation representing some 500 mosques, schools and associations – has called for an independent inquiry. This comes in the wake of four such incidents in the last month alone that has seen Tory representatives refer to Islam as “the new Nazism”; as well as posting on social media a photograph of a bacon rasher draped over a door handle. Under the tagline: “protect your house from terrorism.” And then there was, of course, the suspect campaign for Mayor of London that saw Zac Goldsmith refer to Labour’s Sadiq Khan as a “closet extremist” who “probably increased our risks of suffering terrorism”.
But one man who is having none of it is the new Home Secretary, Sajid Javid. He has dismissed the MCB as not being representative of British Muslims. Drawing on his own Muslim background, the latter served to dispel the ‘myth’ of institutional Islamophobia within the Conservative party. Yet given that former Tory chair, Baroness Warsi, has long raised her voice against such bigotry, it seems that the Home secretary may be guilty of a bit of old-fashioned misogyny. For the message he has sent is tantamount to suggesting the word of a Muslim man is worth more than that of a Muslim woman. Which is an own goal by any means. Javid pointed to what he sees as the MCB’s dubious credentials. These include: (moral) support of Hamas, something the Council shares with Jeremy Corbyn; as well as boycotting Holocaust Memorial Day in protest against Israeli aggression in Gaza. All of which represent traditional British values linked to freedom of speech and fighting for the underdog. Though the flip side is that a former MCB secretary general said at the time of the Salman Rushdie affair that death was perhaps too easy for the novelist. And such talk naturally has no place in British society.
By contrast, however, what is acceptable is encouraging teachers to snoop on children, doctors on patients and faith leaders on congregations. All the better to report any radicalisation behavioural patterns to the authorities. Prevent was the counter-terrorism brainchild of Tony Blair, just two years into the war on terror. Yet the framing of such threats as Islamist itself gave way to Islamophobia. In addition, it sanctioned a surveillance infrastructure to monitor British Muslims that undoubtedly increased in the wake of the London bombings and continues to this day. And this is when Downing Street began to actively court the MCB.
The debate on Islamophobia is crucial and should be tackled seriously and on real grounds as Britain is multi-cultural and multi-religious country and its values are on top and unprecedented rest in the world which should be maintained at any cost.