THE Conservative party has been accused of refusing to deal with Islamophobia within its ranks after chancellor Sajid Javid revealed that a broader probe into prejudice makes sense.
Several senior Tory leaders, including former party chair Sayeeda Warsi, have called for an independent inquiry into Islamophobia within the party. During the party leadership contest earlier this year, prime minister Boris Johnson committed to holding a probe to look into claims that the Conservatives were hostile towards Muslims.
But on Friday (8), Johnson appeared to rule out an independent inquiry specifically into Islamophobia.
Speaking on BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show, Javid said there would be an inquiry into “anti-Muslim hatred” that would start this year.
When pressed on the topic, he added: “We will have an inquiry into prejudice and it will absolutely mean looking into anti-Muslim hatred, and making sure that our zero tolerance policy – absolute zero tolerance – is as effective as it can be and looking to see what other procedures we could have in place.
“But at the same time it also makes sense to look at any other kind of prejudice – it’s absolute sense to look at all types of prejudice, in any form, because it is all unacceptable.
“I don’t accept it’s very different: if you’re going to look into prejudice it is right… at the same time that you look at all other types of prejudice.”
The Conservative Party has been under pressure to open itself for an independent inquiry into Islamophobia. In September, a number of party members were suspended for posting Islamophobic material online.
On Saturday, Baroness Warsi told Channel 44 News that the party was still not taking the issue of Islamophobia seriously.
“We’ve quite rightly been calling out the Labour Party for the allegations of racism within their ranks… we seem to be able to take our opponents to task, and yet we singularly fail to deal with the Islamophobia and racism in our own backyard,” she said.
Asked whether she could urge her fellow British Muslims to vote Conservative, she said: “I would say that the climate for British Muslims within the Conservative Party is hostile.
“I think that the climate that has been created in the country because of the Conservative leadership is hostile for British Muslims.”