Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Cracking down on Anti-Muslim prejudice

All forms of racism are unacceptable. And sadly, no section of human society, including political parties, is as free of racism as we could wish.

I do not believe that any of Britain's political parties can afford to be complacent about racism: that includes anti-semitism and it includes prejudice against Muslims.

Tomorrow on Holocaust memorial day we will be remembering all victims of genocide and especially the Shoah, Hitler's attempt to exterminate the Jews in particular and everyone else he didn't like in general. The deployment of the full power of a modern stage to attempt the scientific extermination of an entire people was in many ways the worst act of racism in history, and without question the worst act of racism in modern history. 

The Shoah is a dreadful lesson of where racism can end up, and that is why a mention of anti-semitism is relevant to a post about Anti-Muslim prejudice - what happened to the Jews in Nazi Germany can ultimately happen to any group if prejudice and hate are permitted to grow and fester. Indeed, at lesat one of the other acts of genocide commemorated on Holocaust Memorial Day was directed against Muslims. We must all work to prevent such an accumulation of hate and prejudice against any group.

Among all the other things which are going on in politics, it is important that the issues raised by Nusrat Ghani MP are not forgotten and to stress that Anti-Muslim prejudice must be rooted out in government, and in all political parties: it has no place in our public life.

I therefore strongly welcome the inquiry by the cabinet office into the concerns raised by Nusrat Ghani. This probably should have been ordered sooner but far better late than never.

It is also important that the important work of implementing the Singh Inquiry recommendations continues to be - as it has been - supported by all parts of the Conservative party.

Professor Swaran Singh, who is professor of social and community psychiatry at Warwick university and a former commissioner for the Equality and Human Rights Commission, was asked to lead an inquiry into racism within the Conservative party.

His full report was published in May 2021 and can be found here. He did find evidence of a number of cases of discrimination, two thirds of which related to prejudice against Muslims, and made a large number of recommendations. The Conservative party apologised unreservedly for these failings and accepted all the recommendations. 

Those recommendations included the publication within six weeks of an action plan to address them, which was done. The latest update came with the publication of a six-month progress report on implementing the recommendations, which can be found here.

I believe that the publication of this highly critical report, the acceptance of all its recommendations, the publication of progress reports on the progress of implementing them, and the efforts I myself have seen from the Conservative party board to involve party members and activists in taking those recommendations seriously and making them a reality demonstrates that the party is absolutely serious about tackling racism. 

Neither anti-muslim prejudice not any other form of racism has any place in our party.

But as I have said all along, neither we nor any other party can afford an atom of complacency. We must continue the good work which has been done to crack down on prejudice.  

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