Palpable sense of fear over Boris Johnson win, says British Muslim group

Muslim Council of Britain has been calling for a full-fledged inquiry into anti-Muslim conduct within the Johnson-led Conservative Party.

Published: 14th December 2019 05:33 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th December 2019 05:33 PM   |  A+A-

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson (File Photo| AP)


LONDON: A prominent British Muslim representative organisation has issued a statement expressing a "palpable sense of fear" within the Muslim community in the UK following Prime Minister Boris Johnson's massive victory in the country's General Election this week.

Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), which has been calling for a full-fledged inquiry into anti-Muslim conduct within the Johnson-led Conservative Party, used one of the key slogans from the election campaign to express fears that the strong majority in the House of Commons could mean that, like Brexit, Islamophobia is also "oven-ready" for the new government.

"Mr Johnson commands a majority, but there is a palpable sense of fear amongst Muslim communities around the country," said MCB Secretary General Harun Khan in a statement released on Friday.

He said: "We entered the election campaign period with long standing concerns about bigotry in our politics and our governing party.

"Now we worry that Islamophobia is 'oven-ready' for government. 

"Mr Johnson has been entrusted with huge power, and we pray it is exercised responsibly for all Britons.

"Describing the 2019 General Election campaign as being the most "divisive in living memory", the group called on the newly re-elected prime minister and his team to work towards national unity.

"We understand that the prime minister insists that he is a One Nation Tory. We earnestly hope that is the case and urge him to lead from the centre and engage with all communities.

"We must all redouble our efforts to heal the country and bring communities together," Khan said.

The election campaign had seen a large number of blows and counter-blows exchanged between both the Johnson-led Tories and Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour Party over their record on minorities.

ALSO READ: Despite epic win, Boris Johnson faces battle for Britain

While the Tories battled attacks of Islamophobia, Corbyn's party was deluged with claims of antisemitism.

Many leading Labour members and MPs even quit the party over the alleged anti-Jewish climate in the ranks.

The MCB's statement came as the former Conservative Party chair, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, renewed her call for an independent inquiry into Islamophobia.

"My party must start healing its relationship with British Muslims," she said in a Twitter statement.

"Independent Inquiry into Islamophobia is a must first step. The battle to root out racism must now intensify," she said.

On the campaign trail, Boris Johnson was forced to formally apologise for any "hurt and offence" as he was confronted on the issue of Islamophobia with the Conservative Party and his own perceived anti-Muslim statements in newspaper columns in the past.

"We are going to have an independent inquiry into Islamophobia, antisemitism, every manner of prejudice and discrimination and it will start before Christmas," he had said last month.

But this was seen as a diluting of his original commitment to hold a separate and in-depth inquiry into Islamophobia within the party ranks.

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