Jeremy Corbyn backs inquiry into claims of Tory party Islamophobia

#Islamophobia

Leader of Britain's Labour party says allegations by Muslim Council of Britain and Tory peer should be 'addressed and dealt with'

'Let's dedicate ourselves, during Ramadan, to say we will drive out Islamophobia from our society,' Corbyn says (AFP)
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Tuesday 5 June 2018 21:07 UTC
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Britain's ruling Conservative party is facing growing pressure to investigate claims it harbours a "simmering anti-Muslim underbelly", as the leader of the opposition Labour party backed calls for an inquiry.

Jeremy Corbyn's support comes after the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) last week demanded action in a letter to Conservative party chairman Brandon Lewis.

The group said there were weekly examples of Islamophobia by Tory representatives and candidates.

Baroness Warsi, the former Tory chairwoman and Conservative peer, also backed the claims, saying there was a "simmering anti-Muslim underbelly within the party".

Speaking during a visit to a London mosque on Monday, Corbyn said: "If there are allegations made then an inquiry should be held and it should be addressed and it should be dealt with.

"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, everybody should be exposing it.

"Let's dedicate ourselves, during Ramadan, to say we will drive out Islamophobia from our society."

Corbyn has faced criticism over his handling of anti-Semitism claims within Labour, which saw Jewish leaders organise a protest outside parliament in March.

Sajid Javid, the home secretary, dismissed both Warsi's claims and the calls for an inquiry from the MCB, which he said "does not represent Muslims in this country".

He told the BBC: "I would be very suspicious of anything that they've got to say not least because, under the last Labour government - and a policy continued by us - we don't deal with the MCB.

"We don't deal with it because too many of their members have had favourable comments on extremists and that's not acceptable."

The MCB accused Javid of having chosen to "shoot the messenger" rather than address their "serious concerns".

It said: "The reality of Islamophobia is that Muslims and the Muslim Council of Britain have to deal with the smear of extremism even though they have clearly and consistently condemned violence perpetrated by people who claim to do this in the name of our religion."

Mohammed Amin, chairman of the Conservative Muslim Forum, criticised his own party on Tuesday for lack of effort to tackle Islamophobia. He told the Independent that the Tories are hoping the problem "will magically go away."

"The Conservative Party seems to be taking the approach that if it keeps quiet and does nothing the issue of anti-Muslim sentiment by some members of the party will somehow magically go away," Amin said.

"Right now the Conservative Party does not want to create political problems or rock the boat."

He added that the party is unwilling to alienate some MPs because it does not have a majority, "but the consequence has been that the party has failed to take sufficiently strong action."