World Bulletin / News Desk
In an open letter addressed to party chairman Brandon Lewis, the council said: “We are writing to you to formally request that you begin an independent inquiry into Islamophobia within the Conservative Party, including a full audit to ensure racists and bigots have no place in the party.”
The letter was penned by Harun Khan, secretary-general of the council.
Khan also criticized Conservative MP Bob Blackman “who has now shown a consistent record of endorsing Islamophobia” adding that he “re-tweeted an anti-Muslim post by the far-right extremist Tommy Robinson, hosted the anti-Muslim extremist Tapan Ghosh in Parliament, shared an anti-Muslim post on Facebook and this week was found to have been a member of a number of Islamophobic Facebook groups”.
Blackman has faced repeated criticism and was forced to apologize after sharing a link from an anti-Muslim U.S. website in March.
The council added that Blackman is not the only MP who has fostered Islamophobia within the party and that “there were more than weekly occurrences of Islamophobia from candidates and representatives of the Conservative Party”.
Giving examples of the weekly occurrences, the letter provided a list of incidents from a number of representatives of the Tory party such as Mike Payne who, on April 5, shared an article that called Muslims “parasites” who ‘live off the state and breed like rabbits” and Alexander van Terheyden, on April 17, who called Islam a “violent political ideology” and compared it to fascism and communism.
“We have to look at the history of the party,” said Miqdad Versi, the deputy leader of the council, in an interview with BBC.
“Just a couple of years ago we had the mayoral campaign where Zac Goldsmith ran what has been described quite wildly a racist campaign against Sadiq Khan,” Versi said to the BBC referring to the London mayor.
As well as bringing to light the rampant Islamophobia within the party, Khan has urged the Conservative Party to “launch a genuinely independent inquiry into Islamophobia within the members, structures, electoral campaigns and public representatives of the party, publish a list of incidents of Islamophobia within the party where action has already been taken” and “adopt a programme of education and training on Islamophobia”.
In a statement responding to the council's open letter, a spokesperson from the Conservative Party said to Sky News: "We take all such incidents seriously, which is why we have suspended all those who have behaved inappropriately and launched immediate investigations.”