UK's Equality Watchdog Writes To Conservatives Over Islamophobia Complaints

The commission has requested information from the party.
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The UK’s Equality and Human Rights Commission has written to the Conservative Party following complaints about Islamophobia in the Tory ranks.

In a statement on Friday, the equality watchdog said it had contacted the party as part of its “standard process” to ask for information to help it assess the complaints.

It is understood that the EHRC will consider the information alongside the complaint before deciding whether to take the case further.

A spokesperson for the Conservatives said the party “will always be happy to work with organisations who support equality, tolerance and human rights”.

The move comes amid an ongoing row about Islamophobia in the Tory party, with Baroness Warsi – the former chair of the Conservatives – telling HuffPost UK in March that the party was showing “worrying tell-tale signs of institutional racism” over its handling of anti-Muslim hate.

A number of party members have been suspended in recent months for posting Islamophobic abuse online.

Meanwhile, the decision by the party on Thursday to reject a definition of Islamophobia agreed by a group of cross-party MPs – which has already been adopted by Labour, the Lib Dems and the Scottish Conservatives – sparked further anger.

During a Commons debate on Islamophobia yesterday, Labour’s Naz Shah accused the government of not taking the “safety and security” of British Muslims seriously enough, describing to MPs just some of the abusive messages she had received in recent weeks.

One message read: “I hope you see your children dead in your arms”, while another person told her: “You don’t deserve life. You are pure evil and your clock is ticking.”

“Which Muslim’s life must go next for us to simply recognise and understand Islamophobia?” she asked during an emotional Commons speech.

“And never before have I shared this openly, but I do question – as many Muslims across this country do – which Muslim’s life will be next? Will it be mine?”

Meanwhile, she accused the Tory party of “pernicious racism” for failing to accept the political definition of Islamophobia.

Speaking on behalf of the government, communities secretary James Brokenshire said there needed to be a “formal definition” of Islamophobia, but added that it must command “broad support” within communities – something that the definition proposed by politicians “at this stage does not yet meet”.

He said two advisers would be appointed as the government looked to arrive “swiftly” at a collective position.


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