Tory MP Stuns People By Declaring Islamophobia Can Only Impact 'Obvious' Muslims

"So does being 'obviously Muslim' like say 'letterboxes' make discrimination ok?"
Tory MP Michael Fabricant waded into the Islamophobia row on Sunday
Tory MP Michael Fabricant waded into the Islamophobia row on Sunday
Jeff J Mitchell via Getty Images

Michael Fabricant lashed out at his Tory colleague Nusrat Ghani over her allegations of islamophobia in the government, saying “the whole thing actually stinks”.

Ghani has alleged she was removed from her role as a minister for the department of transport in 2020 because her “Muslimness” was “making colleagues uncomfortable”.

No.10 has now ordered an inquiry into the claims and promised the prime minister “will take it seriously” – but Conservative MP Fabricant said Ghani’s claims seemed “very suspicious” to him when speaking to LBC on Sunday.

He said, “I think the whole thing actually stinks” because it’s currently “open season” on the whips office and Boris Johnson as people are trying to get the prime minister to resign.

He continued: “Prejudice of any kind in modern Britain is pretty pathetic. It was pathetic 100 years ago and it’s even more pathetic now when this sort of thing happens.

“But ministers come and they go. Sometimes, it’s because you want to refresh the ministerial team. Sometimes, it’s because they were useless. Sometimes, because they are just average and mediocre, and you want to put somebody else in.”

Fabricant also claimed dismissed Ghani’s allegations because “she’s hardly someone who is obviously Muslim” as he had “no idea what religion she was”, before suggesting her allegations seemed “rather a lame excuse to me”.

His words infuriated many people, and Labour frontbenchers even started calling for the Conservatives to remove the whip from Fabricant.

Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy said it was an “appalling, disgraceful thing to say”, while shadow minister for legal aid Afzal Khan tweeted: “At the risk of over-interpreting the rantings of a racist, I think he means that [Ghani] does not wear a hijab.

“Let’s be clear: it is not the role of any man, Muslim or non-Muslim, to police a woman’s faith because of clothes she wears.”

Shadow women and equalities secretary Anneliese Dodds said Fabricant’s words just highlighted how the government needs to take Islamophobia seriously, and called for the whip to be removed.

The Labour MPs weren’t alone in their fury, as people rallied on Twitter against Fabricant’s words.

Fabricant did respond to the backlash when he tweeted: “I say in this LBC clip that prejudice is unforgivable.

“But Nus Ghani claims her being Muslim made people uncomfortable. I don’t buy that at all as most people wouldn’t have had a clue whether she was Muslim or not.

“And if they had, prejudice would of course be wrong.”

The Tory MP also tweeted about the Islamophobia allegations on Friday, claiming that she has been “plotting against Boris for some time now”.

He added that “there are many excellent Muslim ministers in the government” and she “was nice but unimaginative and mediocre” as a minister.

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