UPDATES WITH MORE BACKGROUND
By Muhammad Mussa
LONDON (AA) – A senior Tory peer accused the Conservative party of being “institutionally Islamophobic” after the reinstatement of an MP who had Islamophobic remarks.
In a letter to Sir Mick Davis, the party’s chief executive, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi asked him to show leadership on the matter after Prime Minister Theresa May and party chairman Brandon Lewis had failed to tackle the issue of Islamophobia within the party.
“It is appalling that a man suspended for Islamophobic comments just two years ago has been re-admitted and allowed to stand as a candidate, ” Warsi said in an interview with the news site Politics Home.
“Giving him what his local party chair calls a 'slap on the wrist' shows again this is not an issue confined to individuals but one that has gripped in the institution, ” she added.
Warsi argued that after three years of raising the issue and campaigning against it, the party failed to tackle rising Islamophobia within its ranks and accused the party of being in denial despite overwhelming evidence against party members and MPs.
“And whilst the comments and actions of individuals are disturbing, what's even more hurtful and worrying is my Party's complete lack of political will to even acknowledge the extent of the challenge we face,” she said.
“This rot is institutional and it's why I have been urging the prime minister and others to hold an Independent Inquiry”.
In a statement made on Twitter in 2015, Conservative MP Peter Lamb said that “Islam like alcoholism [sic]. The first step to recovery is admit you have a problem”.
Also said he in the same year: “Turkey buys oil from ISIS. Muslims sticking together”, adding further “do they want us to call ISIS Daesh now so that we don't associate them with Islam?”
Lamb was reinstated into the party after having been suspended and was allowed to stand for election in his constituency. However, following the outcry, he resigned from the party and apologized for the Islamophobic remarks.
In 2018, senior Tory MPs and peers called on Theresa May to acknowledge the issue of Islamophobia within the ruling party and take concrete action against MPs and members who made and those who continue to make anti-Muslim statements.
Same year, the Muslim Council of Britain wrote an open letter, urging the government to launch an investigation against those known to have Islamophobic beliefs and made such statements, both online and in public.
After the publication of the letter, former Foreign Minister Boris Johnson compared Muslim women who wear the hijab and burqa as “letter boxes” and “bank robbers” and after facing an internal party inquiry he was found to have not committed any wrongdoing.
Although May has publicly spoken out against Islamophobia, there has been no serious action taken by the government and the party to tackle rising Islamophobia.