Bob Blackman shares Islamophobic post on Facebook
Categories: Latest News
Thursday March 29 2018
The Independent reports that Bob Blackman, the Conservative MP for Harrow East, shared a story with the headline: “Muslim Somali sex gang say raping white British children ‘part of their culture’.”
Mr Blackman has come under strong criticism for sharing the article, which he took from the website HardcoreNews US. The far-right, counter-jihad website features primarily anti-Muslim, scaremongering stories through which it spreads conspiracies about an Islamic takeover of the Western world.
The Muslim Council of Britain strongly condemned Blackman’s behaviour. The assistant secretary, Miqdaad Versi, tweeted it is “deeply disappointing to see Tory MP Bob Blackman once again endorse Islamophobia.” Another spokesman added: “We now see he chooses to share anti-Muslim material from a site full of Islamophobia. If the Conservative Party claims to be a party for all, it cannot continue to tolerate and even reward such behaviour. It cannot give Islamophobia a free pass.”
Blackman has since apologised, saying that he regrets “any upset caused to the Muslim Council of Britain or the wider community” for sharing the article. He said: “I deleted the link as I saw that the headline to the article was phrased inappropriately. I can confirm that I have never visited the website in question and am not part of any group related to it.”
The Tory MP is already not new to this kind of controversy. In October 2017, he was strongly criticised for flagging a tweet from Tommy Robinson, the far-right, Islamophobic activist who co-founded English Defence League.
Even more worryingly, in October 2017, Blackman hosted anti-Muslim extremist Tapan Ghosh at an event in the House of Commons. Tapan Ghosh, an Indian Hindu-nationalist who claims to have created the ‘Hindu Defence Force’, is well-known for his extreme views against Muslims and Islam. For example, he has praised the genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Burma when he tweeted: “Shame on Islam… how can we blame the Myanmar Buddhists for driving them out?”; he has called for the UN to control the birth rate of Muslims when he asked: “Why it doesn’t try to control birth rate of Muslims world over?”; and has even suggested that “all Muslims are jihadis”.
This new incident raises an important the question: at a time in which Jeremy Corbyn is under serious pressure to immediately tackle anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, what is Theresa May doing to tackle Islamophobia in the Conservative Party?
So far, and despite Blackman’s propensity for this kind of controversy, the Conservative Party leadership has remained silent of the issue, showing once more that tackling anti-Muslim hatred is not high in the list of priorities. Sadly, the astonishing silence of the Conservative leadership over Blackman’s behaviour is perhaps an indicator that combating Islamophobia does not carry the same weight among party members as anti-Semitism.
Similarly, major media outlets have consistently underreported this type of events, while never missing a chance to run extensive debates about other, and equally appalling, forms of racial and religious hatred. Does Islamophobia not deserve the same attention and in-depth analysis?
People are calling for measures to be taken against Blackman. When Labour MP Angela Rayner condemned the act on Twitter, some commented: “I’m pleased to see them condemn Tory MP Bob Blackman for his Islamophobic Facebook postings. Oh wait, they haven’t…”