Muslims Fear Increased Islamophobia After Conservative Victory In British Elections
The conservative party of United Kingdom won a landslide victory in the General Election held on 12th December, winning 365 out of 650 seats and 43.65% of the total share of the vote. Jeremy Corbyn won 203 seats ending up as the largest opposition, in other words unable to win a 3rd General Election in a row. Meanwhile, Labour Against Antisemitism termed the Labour party’s loss a ‘damning verdict’ as Conservatives recorded their best figures since 1987 and Labour their worst since 1935.
However, after the election results were finalised, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) released a statement congratulating incumbent Prime Minister Boris Johnson but also emphasising that he must reassure that British Muslims would be treated equally in United Kingdom. Former cabinet minister and Tory Party’s Chairperson Sayeeda Warsi said that her party “must start healing its relationship with British Muslims” in the backdrop of widespread racism and Islamophobia in the Conservative Party and entrenched anti-immigration views within the party. She also tweeted “Endorsements from #TommyRobinson & #KatieHopkins & colleagues retweeting both is deeply disturbing. Independent Inquiry into #Islamophobia is a must first step. The battle to root out racism must now intensify”
Harun Khan, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain stated that: “Mr Johnson commands a majority, but there is a palpable sense of fear amongst Muslim communities around the country. We entered the election campaign period with long standing concerns about bigotry in our politics and our governing party. Now we worry that Islamophobia is ‘oven-ready’ for government. Mr Johnson has been entrusted with huge power, and we pray it is exercised responsibly for all Britons.”
Harun Khan added: “We understand that the Prime Minister insists that he is a One Nation Tory. We earnestly hope that is the case and urge him to lead from the centre and engage with all communities.”
Famous rapper, Stormzy, had earlier urged his followers to vote Labour via retweeting a message by British journalist Mehdi Hasan shortly after the exit poll result came in. The message directed towards Conservative leader Boris Johnson was: “Dark day for minorities in the UK. Especially for British Muslims who watched as a man who said “Islam was the problem,” mocked veiled Muslim women, & also turned a blind eye to massive anti-Muslim hatred in his party, was just given a landslide majority by their fellow Britons.”
In the midst of this election debacle for Labour Party, its leader Jeremy Corbyn vowed to resign as party leader. The Labour party was unable to cut through the noise on Brexit and was unable to convince British voters the mechanism with which they can sole the Brexit crisis. Relying on a slogan to save the NHS and other public utilities proved futile and inadequate.
While Jeremy Corbyn’s impact on the Labour party politics will remain disputed, he will go down in history books as a political figure who fought against injustice, inequality and campaigned for better standards of living. Writer and political commentator Owen Jones, who had campaigned for Labour, said: “It’s a catastrophic result for the country and for everything that the Labour Party exists to fight for. The people it was founded to champion, to represent.’’
The writer is co-founder Future of Pakistan Conference and a graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science.