One in three Muslims see Islamophobia in Labour Party; says report

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LONDON: More than a third of Muslim Labour Party members and supporters have witnessed Islamophobia within the party, a report has found. Meanwhile, 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 reported by ITV News.

The Independent says that some 59 per cent of Muslims surveyed said they did not feel well represented by the party. Ali Milani, who stood against Boris Johnson in Uxbridge and South Ruislip in the last general election, claims a fellow party member told him Muslims could not be MPs because of “their propensity to violence” and asked if he was a terrorist, ITV News reported.

“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,” Mr Milani said.”It’s just hurtful.”

The parliamentary chair of the Labour Muslim Network, Afzal Khan, MP for Manchester Gorton, said Islamophobia within the party had had gone “unnoticed” and “deserved immediate attention.”  

“Whilst the Labour Party has enjoyed the overwhelming support of the Muslim community for decades, we cannot take their support for granted,” Mr Khan wrote. “The Labour Party must commit to a zero tolerance of Islamophobia and rebuild confidence with its Muslim members.”

Labour MP Apsana Begum said she had faced similar issues and claimed the party “has been in denial” about the problem.

She told ITV News: “It’s quite regular to be asked questions and to constantly be asked to reaffirm my commitment towards British society as if in some way my identity and politics are not compatible.”

The Muslim Council of Britain said the report was shocking and urged the party to act immediately. A spokesperson said: “Islamophobia is prevalent across British society but when it is within political parties who are our representatives and who decide on policy, it is all the more dangerous.