December 7, 2021

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Liverpool bomb: Tories need to act as racists use attack to justify Islamophobia, says Anneliese Dodds

Liverpool bomb: Tories need to act as racists use attack to justify Islamophobia, says Anneliese Dodds
The Conservatives need to take a firm stance on Islamophobia as terror attacks like Liverpool are manipulated by racists to justify hate crimes against Muslims, the shadow equalities secretary has said.

Labour’s Anneliese Dodds has written to the Conservative Party asking it to take urgent action to tackle Islamophobia, telling i that there has been a “very concerning” surge in attacks directed at Muslim people following last week’s Remembrance Sunday terror attack.

Ms Dodds and Afzal Khan MP, Labour’s Shadow Deputy Leader of the House and chair of the Labour Muslim Network, have jointly written to Conservative Party Co-Chair Oliver Dowden MP, calling on his party to “do much more” to tackle the scourge.

Among the demands, the shadow equalities secretary and Mr Khan are urging the Tories to abandon what they call the “bizarre practice” of referring to “anti-Muslim hatred” instead of Islamophobia.

The Conservative Party is the only major UK political party that has not adopted the definition, which has been endorsed by over 800 British Muslim organisations.

“Research shows terror attacks are manipulated by racists, who use the tragedy to justify making Islamophobic attacks on the community,” Ms Dodds told i. “With incidents like Liverpool, it seems to lead to a rise in hate crimes against the Muslim community, and that’s very concerning.

“People that I’ve spoken to are aware of how different events are then manipulated by essentially racists to make attacks upon Muslims. In 2020-2021, 45 per cent of religiously motivated hate crimes targeted the Muslim community, a drop of just 2 per cent from the year before.”

The Labour letter also states that the Conservatives face a series of looming deadlines set out in its response to the Singh Investigation into alleged racism and discrimination within the Tory party.

Professor Swaran Singh, who has served as a commissioner for the Equality and Human Rights Commission, conducted an independent report in response to criticism of how the party handled discrimination and complaints.

In the report, Mr Johnson issued a qualified apology for offence caused by his past remarks about Islam in an article in which he called the burqa “oppressive” and said it was “absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letter boxes”.

Mr Johnson said the article was a liberal defence of a Muslim woman’s right to choose what she wore. “I am obviously sorry for any offence taken,” the report quoted him as saying.

An Action Plan written by Sajiv Javid in response to the report promised a “zero-tolerance approach to discrimination,” but has been criticised for not specifically mentioning Islamophobia.

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“We’ve been concerned that the Singh review, that suggested there was an issue with Islamophobia in the Conservatives, that several of the recommendations have not been acted on,” Ms Dodds told i. “I’ve picked up from talking to people in different Muslim communities, that there’s concern not a single Muslim member of the Conservative party was invited to contribute to that review.

“This is part of a broader pattern. The Conservative Government said it wanted to launch an investigation into the prevalence of Islamophobia in the UK, but they need to appoint two reviewers, and they’ve only appointed one. It’s time to act.”

Mr Khan added: “We have been calling on the Conservative Party to adopt the APPG British Muslims’ definition on Islamophobia for over two years and its failure to do so let’s down the British Muslim community.”

i has approached the Conservative Party HQ for comment.


The shadow equalities secretary has written to the Conservative Party asking it to take urgent action to tackle Islamophobia after a “very concerning” surge in attacks directed at Muslim people