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Muslim Council of Britain urges investigation into Islamophobia in the Tory Party

THE MUSLIM Council of Britain (MCB) has written to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) demanding an investigation into the Conservative Party over alleged incidents of Islamophobia.

The group has submitted 150 alleged incidents of Islamophobia to the watchdog. It said Islamophobia within the party “runs deep.”

In a letter, MCB general secretary Harun Khan said that “no action was taken” when MPs, including former foreign secretary and now leadership hopeful Boris Johnson, “engaged in Islamophobia.”

Mr Johnson was cleared of breaching his party’s code of conduct last December after he wrote an article that described women who wear the niqab face veil as looking like “letter boxes.”

Mr Khan also said: “Islamophobia has been tolerated towards Muslim members of the party, including an atmosphere of hostility.”

He accused Tory chairman Brandon Lewis of having “demonstrated a callous attitude to complaints, misleading members and the public with limited (if any) transparency.”

Conservative peer Baroness Warsi, who was Britain’s first female Muslim cabinet minister, has also criticised Mr Lewis of a “woefully inept” response to complaints of Islamophobia.

Mr Khan continued: “It is a sad day for us to have brought this complaint to the doors of the EHRC, but the concerns of Muslims at large about Islamophobia within the Conservative Party have fallen on deaf ears.

“We have taken this step after an unprecedented number of cases have been brought to our attention, suggesting a culture within the Conservative Party where Islamophobia is not only widespread, but institutional. We now request the EHRC to look at all the evidence and investigate this matter with great urgency.”

Labour shadow equalities minister Naz Shah said that the letter highlights “the deep-rooted nature of Islamophobia within the Conservative Party.

“The countless evidenced examples and failure to swiftly deal with the problems shows us how the problem is not just about a few members sharing hateful views, but about institutionalised Islamophobia that exists right at the top and trickles all the way down.”

The MCB complaint comes as the EHRC confirmed a statutory investigation into Labour over alleged anti-semitism, based on complaints from the Campaign Against Anti-semitism (CAA).

The CAA has been criticised by Jewish historian and campaigner David Rosenberg over a petition it launched demanding Labour act against Jeremy Corbyn in August last year, which originally contained libellous accusations that the Labour leader had “given his backing” to Holocaust deniers (later removed) and failing to remove racist comments and death threats against Mr Corbyn from the website until forced to by complaints to the Charity Commission.

The MCB said the timing of the letter was a coincidence and it was planned before the EHRC announced an investigation into Labour.

An EHRC spokesperson said the body had written to the Conservative Party “to ask for information in order to help assess the complaints.”

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