Islamophobia has become so normalised in Britain that even our politicians can get away with it

Tory MP acused of Islamophobia after posting anti-Muslim article on Facebook

Bob Blackman says ‘he sincerely regret[s] any upset caused’

Shehab Khan, aleeshawrites
27 March 2018

So, I wanted to write a short blog post about something that’s really been bothering me in British politics recently. As a young British Muslim woman involved in politics, I’ve seen the rise of anti-Muslim rhetoric in British politics, and nobody is acting on it, nobody is condemning it and quite frankly, it’s disgusting that our politicians can get away with it.

Where do I even start with this topic? I have so much to say and I’m so disgusted by what I’ve seen recently. But first of all, let me say, this idea that only the left can be abusive is simply wrong and utterly untrue. I’d like to invite those that say this onto my account for a week to see the abuse I receive. Though it is completely possible for people on the left to be abusive, why aren’t we addressing it in other parties and other political wings? I’m actually really fed up with the double standards here. As a 20-year-old vocal Muslim on social media, I’m constantly religiously abused and those that follow me will know how rife this is as they also see the Tweets. But I’m not writing this to victimise myself, I’m simply fed up with British politics and the media legitimising islamophobia.

There are a number of factors that have played a part in legitimising and normalising islamophobia, but when are we going to discuss it in politics? This week, we had demonstrations against anti-semitism, it made the front-page news, it dominated broadcast news, which it rightfully should. I abhor anti-semitism, sexism, bigotry, homophobia, etc, but I just want to know when we’re going to address islamophobia in politics or are we just going to let it continue?

Very recently, Conservative MP, Bob Blackman shared an islamophobic page and article on his Facebook and then apologised for it when he was called out. However, this isn’t the first time that Bob has endorsed the anti-Muslim sentiment, he previously retweeted anti-Muslim posts from Tommy Robinson, a notorious bigot. Moreover, Bob Blackman had also hosted an anti-Muslim extremist in Parliament, a man who praised the Rohingya genocide, called for genocide of Kashmiri Muslims and called for Islam to be “wiped out” from this planet. What annoys me most about all of this is the entire fact that it’s hardly made the news, just briefly and there’s hardly any outrage, and our MPs aren’t condemning it or calling it out. I’d at least expect our Muslim MPs to call it out regardless of political ideologies but all I see is silence. Just imagine for a second that Bob was a Labour MP, or imagine if, in this instance, it was another religion. Just imagine the outrage. The silence from Theresa May and the Tories and their inability to act on this speaks volumes.

But also, Bob Blackman’s islamophobia isn’t just one case in politics. There are many. One of which dates back to the London Mayoral elections, where Zac Goldsmith launched an islamophobic campaign against Sadiq Khan. The Tories didn’t act, nobody acted and Zac Goldsmith still remains as an MP for Richmond. In a more contemporary example, I ask you all to go to Sadiq Khan’s Twitter profile, browse through his Tweets and look at all of the replies to them. You will almost always see islamophobic and racial abuse tweeted to him. But my question is, why is nobody acting? I have been blocked by Tory councillors and Tory MPs when I call islamophobia out. Why are these MPs and councillors supporting islamophobes? It makes me think that the Tory party has an actual problem with islamophobia, not to mention the dozens of times I’ve been religiously abused by Tories.

My question is, are we just going to ignore it? When will we give these cases the rightful outrage? I’m also writing this just after reading a Tweet from the official EU Leave account that said Britain has an “exploding” Muslim population. Islamophobia is absolutely normalised in British politics and nobody is really doing anything about it. The silence from our politicians shows their inability to act and their legitimation/endorsement of these views. Are we going to act, or are we going to do nothing and let MPs like Bob Blackman host more extremists in Parliament?