The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has issued a formal request to the UK’s human rights watchdog, calling for it to investigate complaints of alleged Islamophobia within the Conservative Party.
The umbrella organisation – which represents more than 500 mosques and community groups – released a statement today (May 28) announcing it had written to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), urging it to launch an inquiry into the party.
Its statement comes hours after the EHRC announced it will be investigating complaints of alleged anti-semitism within the Labour Party.
The MCB said that it had held back the publication of its letter until after the European elections, to avoid claims of trying to influence the outcome.
‘Fallen On Deaf Ears’
Conservative Party Chairman, Brandon Lewis. Image Credit: Chris McAndrew/Wikimedia
Harun Khan, secretary general of the MCB, said: “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.”
The MCB said there are “five pillars” to its complaint, which it says are based on more than 150 instances of Islamophobia within the party that have been reported to it.
These pillars include alleged Islamophobia among Tory MPs; an atmosphere of hostility against Muslim Conservative party members; a “callous” attitude to dealing with complaints, and a denial that Islamophobia is a major problem.
A Track Record of Concerns?
Image Credit: EU27EE/Flickr
Earlier this month, the government also came under criticism for rejecting a working definition of Islamophobia which was developed by a cross-parliamentary group after months of consultation with Muslim organisations across the country.
The government said it needed to give the definition, which classes Islamophobia as “a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness,” further consideration amid reported free speech and security concerns.
ITV News also reported that the EHRC had also formally written to the Conservative Party after receiving complaints of allegations of Islamophobia within its ranks. The party has been given one month to respond to the request for more information.
A Conservative spokesperson told ITV at the time that the party “will always be happy to work with organisations who support equality, tolerance and human rights.”
The Conservative Party has been contacted for comment.