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Nus Ghani: The Latest Case of Conservative Party Islamophobia

Nus Ghani: The Latest Case of Conservative Party Islamophobia

Categories: Latest News

Wednesday February 02 2022

In the latest case of Conservative Party Islamophobia, former Government Minister Nus Ghani MP claimed that she was dismissed from her role in Government due to her Muslimness. Ms Ghani is merely the latest in a growing list of Muslim Conservative Party members who have spoken up about the Islamophobia they have experienced or witnessed within the Party. Despite increasing evidence, including MEND’s 2019 report citing over 120 incidences of Islamophobia within the Party, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s own track record of anti-Muslim comments has inevitably facilitated a long indifference towards Islamophobia within the Party. Consequently, the need to secure a robust and meaningful investigation into Islamophobia within the Conservative Party by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has become imperative, which can genuinely recognise the scale and scope of Islamophobia through the very structures of the Party.

Indeed, there is a concerning increase of individuals who have raised concerns about Islamophobia within the Conservative Party. This includes but is not limited to Nus Ghani, Baroness Warsi and Sajjad Karim. The growing number of complaints demonstrates the normalised culture of Islamophobia within the Conservative Party, with former MEP Sajjad Karim saying in 2019 that Islamophobia runs deep within the Party’s “senior members”.

Despite the endemic of Islamophobia within the Party, there has been a lack of seriousness in taking appropriate action to address the matter. Although the Singh investigation found Islamophobia within the Party, it was widely deemed a ‘whitewash’. Professor Singh’s investigation failed to reach out to Muslim Conservative MPs, questioned the term Islamophobia, and mainly concerned itself with investigating the complaints process whilst refusing to recognise Islamophobia and racism on a structural level. Hence, from the remarks and attitude of Conservative MPs, the need for the EHRC to launch its investigation, which can genuinely recognise the scale and scope of Islamophobia through the very structures of the Party, has become essential.

Meanwhile, despite her revelations, Ms Ghani is not entirely free from controversy concerning Islamophobia. Indeed, her track record reveals support for the controversial appointment of William Shawcross, an individual with an unhidden history of Islamophobia, to lead the review of the Prevent strategy. On top of this, she is a senior fellow at the neo-Conservative think tank Policy Exchange, who have voiced numerous opinions against British Muslims. While, she has rarely spoken on important political issues concerning British Muslims, including Palestine and Kashmir. Journalist and former supporter of Ms Ghani, Peter Oborne, even quoted her as saying, “I don’t want to be pigeonholed as a Muslim or a female” when he encouraged her to make more of her Muslim identity.

As a result of her history, senior Conservative MPs, including Michael Fabricant, found the opportunity to whitewash Ms Ghani’s claims. Mr Fabricant claimed that it is “hardly obvious” that Ms Ghani is Muslim, and alleged she was taking the chance to attack Boris Johnson amidst the Party-gate scandal. Mr Fabricant’s comments seemingly allude to the belief that Islamophobia can only be observed as discrimination based on perceived Muslimness, meaning that unobservable signs of being Muslim (such as beliefs) cannot be targets of Islamophobia, demonstrating a lack of understanding of the functioning of Islamophobia by a senior MP.

In light of the above, MEND calls upon the EHRC to take meaningful action in addressing Islamophobia, starting with a comprehensive review into Islamophobia within the Conservative Party. 

Image Credit: Andrew Parsons/ i-Images

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