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Mon, 28 September 2020

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By Hft

Muslim Council of Britain accuses Boris Johnson of 'deceit' after widening scope of Islamophobia probe

Muslim Council of Britain accuses Boris Johnson of 'deceit' after widening scope of Islamophobia probe
2 min read

The Muslim Council of Britain has accused Boris Johnson of "deceit" after the Conservatives ditched their commitment to holding a probe specifically into Islamophobia in the party.

Former equality and human rights commissioner, Swaran Singh, has been appointed to lead an independent review into all forms of discrimination and racism with the party despite previously pledging to focus on Islamophobia.

Mr Johnson himself has come in for specific criticism for comparing Muslim women who wear burkas to "letter boxes" and "bank robbers".

The Prime Minister was also forced to apologise during the election campaign for "all the hurt and offence that has been caused" by members of his party who have been suspended or faced disciplinary action for making Islamophobic comments.

Harun Khan, general secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain, accused the party of diluting previous commitments to hold a probe into Tory Islamophobia.

"(Swaran Singh's) appointment is at risk of being seen in the same light as the Conservative party's customary approach to Islamophobia, that of denial, dismissal and deceit," he said.

"We were promised an independent inquiry into Islamophobia specifically. Now we have a review that aims to broaden the scope to examine discrimination more generally.

"A laudable aim if it were not for the fact that the Conservative party is afflicted with a particular type of bigotry that it refuses to countenance.

"The appointment of Professor Singh does not instill huge confidence in the process."

Mr Singh, a professor of psychaitry at the University of Warwick, said his investigation would look at the party's structures for dealing with complaints of racism to ensure "any instances are isolated, and that there are robust processes in place to stamp them out as and when they occur".

Announcing the review, Conservative Party chairman James Cleverly, said: "The Conservative party has always worked to act swiftly when allegations have been put to us and there are a wide range of sanctions to challenge and chance behaviour.

"The Conservative party will never stand by when it comes to prejudice and discrimination of any kind and it is right to hold an independent review, so we can stamp out unacceptable abuse that is not fit for public life."


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