"My Islamophobia party has done an Islamophobia on me" — Muslims react to Tory MP's allegations
Muslim commentators have taken a keen interest in the latest Tory Islamophobia saga, with many calling out Tory MP Nusrat Ghani for not taking the problem seriously until it affected her.
The Conservative MP for Wealden claimed over the weekend that when she was sacked as minister in 2020, a government whip said her "Muslimness" was “making colleagues uncomfortable”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered a Cabinet Office inquiry into the allegations. Meanwhile, the whip in question has come out to say that Ghani's claims are false and defamatory.
Many have come out in support of Ghani for the Islamophobic treatment she has alleged to have faced. But Twitter has also been pointing out the irony of Ghani raising this issue now, given the Tory Party’s well-documented history of Islamophobic incidents.
"The islamophobic party did a islamophobia against me and that made me sad, because I thought their islamophobia was for my Birmingham constituents, not me, one of the good ones," was the cutting remark from comedian Tez Ilyas.
Another tweeter asks why Muslims support Tories knowing their history: "Do they imagine it will never happen to them? Until it does. Huge respect for Baroness @SayeedaWarsi who has for years been highlighting this and been ignored. Incl[uding] by Nusrat Ghani one assumes?
Academic and columnist Dr Tallha Abdulrazaq said: "It really says a lot when you abandon everything just to be accepted & yet you still aren't."
Another academic Dr Rizwaan Sabir screenshot and presented Ghani's support of the Tories' 'brutal' policies. "What @Nus_Ghani’s case shows is that despite supporting almost every brutal Tory policy under the sun, you’ll find yourself being Islamophobically whipped if you identify as Muslim. Let this be a lesson to all assimilationists as well as those who appease Islamophobes & racists," he said.
Meanwhile, journalist Barnie Choudhary is intrigued by the saga and questions the reason behind her sacking: "But if politicians want to be cleared #racism & #Islamophobia, they find people of colour to clear them?"
In 2018, when Ghani was a government minister, she played down allegations of Tory Islamophobia.
Brushed under the carpet
The problems of Islamophobia in the Tory Party has been talked about for years and there has been multiple calls for them to launch a formal investigation. Former Tory chair Baroness Warsi has been consistently talking about the issue for the past few years.
In May 2018, the Muslim Council of Britain called for a "full audit to ensure racists and bigots have no place in the party."
But a month later, Ghani was featured in a PoliticsHome piece pushing back against accusations that the party is rife with Islamophobia.
Ghani, who back then had just become Britain's first female minister from a Muslim background to speak at the Commons despatch box, said Islamophobia in the Tory Party "in no way compares" to Labour's battles with anti-Semitism.
She said anyone with concerns about Islamophobia in the party should "go forward and report it" to party chiefs.
"I think if anyone feels that they’ve been treated differently because of their heritage or their faith or their gender then they should report it. I’m sure the chairman, Brandon Lewis, will take every one of those incidences seriously if they exist,” she added.
Now in her own case, Ghani has not reported the allegations to the party's complaints process — a process that even the controversial Government commissioned Singh review found flawed
When asked whether the party should launch a formal inquiry into Islamophobia, Ghani said in that 2018 interview: "That’s for the party to decide if that’s what they want to do.
"But you know - it’s not the experiences that I have."
Tory Islamophobia affecting everyday Muslims
Ghani may not have experienced it personally, until now, but Muslims have been talking about this issue for a long time.
"Tory party members have called for Muslims to be thrown off bridges, sterilised, MPs such as Bob Blackman have invited speakers such as Tapan Ghosh to Parliament, who had a history of praising the Rohingya genocide. The likes of Nadine Dorries and Blackman have retweeted Tommy Robinson, Michael Fabricant has suggested Muslims can’t be English and of course how could we forget the comments of Boris Johnson who compared Muslim women who wear the Burka to looking like letterboxes and bank robbers which led to a 375% increase in hate crimes. Zac Goldsmith ran an Islamophobic campaign against the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. There are countless examples," says journalist Basit Mahmood.
Hope Not Hate last year released a report, which showed:
- 57% of party members had a negative attitude towards Muslims
- Almost half believe Islam is “a threat to the British way of life”.
- 58 percent think “there are no go areas in Britain where Sharia law dominates and non-Muslims cannot enter”.
Ghani said in her recent statement about the Islamophobia incident: "Those that have not had their identity and faith questioned, cannot fully appreciate what it does to you."
Muslims on Twitter are wondering why it has taken Ghani so long to have this epiphany now, seeing that the anti-Muslim sentiments in the Tory party has been clear for so long.
Image of Nus Ghani CC by 3.0