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Mon, 6 July 2020

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Tories launch probe after candidate accused of sharing Islamophobic messages

Tories launch probe after candidate accused of sharing Islamophobic messages
3 min read

The Conservatives have launched a probe into one of their election candidates after she was accused of sharing Islamophobic messages on social media.


The party is investigating Bradford East candidate Linden Kemkaran after she reportedly shared tweets saying Muslims had a "nasty culture" and had played the "race card".

During a Twitter row with Labour's shadow equalities minister Naz Shah, who is standing in the neighbouring Bradford West seat, Ms Kemkaran allegedly attacked her Muslim Labour rival.

According to The Guardian, Ms Kemkaran retweeted one user who had said to Ms Shah: "You are a dunce. There weren't any no-go areas when I was a kid. Muslims always the victims, play race card, 'Islamophobia', what a crock, what a nasty culture. No integration, what makes you think we will accept 3rd world ways and why should we?"

She also allegedly retweeted a seperate post which said of Ms Shah: "We know where your loyalties lie, and it's not Bradford."

Ms Kemkaran has now undone her retweets, saying: "Of course I don't think Muslim culture is negative or "nasty" - quite the opposite in fact.

"When I interact with anyone I see the human being first, that matters way more than colour/religion/sexuality etc. I wish others would do the same."

She added: "I'm the product of a multi-cultural/heritage background and a constant promoter of diversity and equality.

But in a letter to Conservative Party chairman, James Cleverly, Ms Shah urged the party to investigate the incident and accused Ms Kemkaran of peddling "far-right tropes".

"I tweeeted out how disgusted I felt that your Bradford East candidate, Linden Kemkaran, described Bradford as having 'crime infested streets' and 'no-go areas' during a local hustings," she wrote.

"I highlighted how the link to no-go areas is a far right trope used to attack and demonise minority communities. I recognise that people can make mistakes for a number of reasons, including sometimes through ignorance.

"However, instead of Linden Kemkaran apologising for peddling such rhetoric, she decided it was apt to double down on this message."

She added: "To peddle these far-right tropes especially by an individual standing for office is not only irresponsible but hugely dangerous for minority communities."

A Conservative Party spokesperson, said: "This matter is being investigated. Discrimination or abuse of any kind is wrong, and the Conservative party takes decisive action to deal with any incidents of hated, abuse or intimidation."

On Sunday, Mr Cleverly apologised for Islamophobia fter growing criticism of his party's handling of complaints.

The senior Tory also confirmed the party had begun "preparatory work" for an investigation into Islamophobia by members, but said the probe would have to be widened out to also look at other forms of racism.

He said: "I am sorry when people say or do things that are wrong, but I am confident my party have a robust way of dealing with this."

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