Media response has not helped raise profile of discrimination facing Muslims who have suffered both physical and verbal abuse.
A 44,000 word probe into Islamophobia has been both hailed and condemned. Muslim Conservative party members have condemned the report, calling it a “whitewash”. It criticized many incidents at both a local and national level particularly highlighting incidents involving Boris Johnson and Zac Goldsmith which emboldened prejudice against Muslims.
Baroness Sayeeda Warsi said Boris Johnson is “part of the problem.”
There are calls for action to be taken by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission against the Conservative party as it did against Labour for antisemitism. But many are not holding out as a statement made by the commission said it will await the Conservative party’s response.
The report highlighted particular cases in which the Prime Minister Boris Johnson compared women who wear burkas as “letter boxes” and “bank robbers”.
The report found 1,418 complaints regarding 727 incidents of discrimination. The report said: “Judging by the extent of complaints and findings of misconduct by the party itself that relate to anti-Muslim words and conduct, anti-Muslim sentiment remains a problem within the party”
Professor Swaran Singh said: “Racism and other forms of discrimination have a long-lasting and pernicious effect on individuals and communities. We were tasked with scrutinising how the Conservative Party dealt with allegations of such discrimination and whether its policies and processes to deal with complaints of discrimination were fit for purpose. Our report should make for uncomfortable reading for the Party and, more importantly, spur it into action. I hope the Party will fully accept our recommendations and implement the changes needed in a transparent and timely manner.”
Zac Goldsmith came under scrutiny for his comparisons between London mayor Sadiq Khan and the 7/7 terrorist attacks.
Islamophobia is now the highest it has ever been, but the amount of coverage it has received is far less than other forms of prejudice. Between 2019-2020, more than 3,000 complaints of anti-Muslim hate crime were reported by Office for National Statistics.
What will be done and the amount of coverage it receives is yet to be seen, but representation for Muslims within the UK is still below the level it should be.