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British Muslim advocacy group urges official inquiry into Conservative Islamophobia

New poll reveals 62 percent of Tory voters regard Islam as threat to the 'British way of life'
Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson reacts after pulling crackers with staff members during a visit to IG Design Group in Hengoed, south Wales (AFP)

Muslim campaigners have delivered a formal request to Britain's Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) asking for an investigation into Islamophobia with the Conservative Party.

Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND), an organisation that promotes Muslim involvement in politics and society, has criticised the lack of action taken over anti-Muslim attitudes in the party, as a new poll found that 62 percent of Conservative voters believed that Islam "threatens the British way of life".

In a letter addressed to EHRC chairman David Isaac, MEND said they had attached a report which detailed "over 120 instances of Islamophobia emanating from Conservative members of Parliament, councillors, and party candidates over the past five years".

"Over recent months, numerous organisations and individuals, including ourselves, have consistently called for an inquiry into Islamophobia in the Conservative Party. These calls have not been heeded, but rather have largely been ignored by the Conservative leadership," said the letter. 

'Over recent months, numerous organisations and individuals, including ourselves, have consistently called for an inquiry into Islamophobia in the Conservative Party'

- MEND

"We have produced this report in an effort to highlight the pervasiveness of Islamophobia within the party, as demonstrated by Conservative candidates, councillors, mayors, and members of parliament."

MEND called on the EHRC to "use its statutory powers to initiate an immediate inquiry into Islamophobia within the Conservative Party".

Middle East Eye contacted the EHRC to ask if they had responded to the letter, but at time of publication had no reply.

Both major political parties in Britain have been facing accusations of racism in the run-up to parliamentary elections on 12 December.

The Labour Party is currently already facing an inquiry by the EHRC over claims of antisemitism within its ranks.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson previously promised an investigation into anti-Muslim prejudice in the Conservative Party in June, but so far has not taken any action.

'Nasty culture'

A new poll carried out by the research company ICM for the Avaaz online activist organisation revealed on Wednesday that 37 percent of Conservative voters viewed Muslims in a negative light, compared to 26 percent of the electorate as a whole and 16 percent of Labour Party supporters.

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It also found that 62 percent of Conservative voters regarded Islam as a threat to the "British way of life" compared to 45 percent of the general public and 35 percent of Labour voters.

A number of Conservative Party members, including election candidates, have been suspended or are facing investigations over anti-Muslim comments.

On Tuesday, the party said it was investigating their candidate for Bradford East, Linden Kemkaran, after she was accused of retweeting a post on Twitter that described Islam as a "nasty culture".

She has since deleted the retweets and denied that she held negative views of Islam.

Last month, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) released a list of marginal seats in the UK where Muslim voters could have a "high" or "medium" impact on the vote.

In Uxbridge, 25-year-old Iran-born Muslim Ali Milani is running against Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose seat is the most marginal held by a prime minister since 1924.