Editorial by Shaykh Saleem Seedat
College Chaplain focussing on facilitating interfaith dialogue within the college and Community Imam Chaplain Saleem Seedat.
Statistics have shown an increase in hate crime against Muslims and Mosques in the last few years, often fuelled by Islamophobic narratives and rhetoric found in the national media, and across social media platforms.
As a Muslim chaplain in a Higher Education College in Blackburn, my team and I must be mindful for any bigotry and hate on campus. It is essential we locate, and stamp these views out where we can.
The government has previously displayed seriousness in tackling the issue of Islamaphobia, a prominent example is the response to the Finsbury Park Mosque attack. It was immediately declared as an act of terrorism with the Prime Minister referring to it as, “every bit as sickening” as the terrorist attacks of Manchester and London Bridge. She further added: “As I said here two weeks ago, there has been far too much tolerance of extremism in our country over many years – and that means extremism of any kind, including Islamophobia.” This is one of many steps the Government has taken to tackle Islamaphobia.
However, more recently, a danger of Islamophobia in the Conservative Party has emerged. A letter sent to the Chairman of the Party highlighted cases of concern. Many others, including two Muslim Conservative Peers have shared this concern, and urge the issue to be addressed.
Following, are some public examples of concern:
Conservative Party councillor sharing an article calling Muslims ‘parasites’ who ‘live off the state’ and breed like rabbits’.
Councillors retweeting tweets from prominent far-right personalities and tweeting “Revoke Muslim immigration, repatriate and secure European borders…” as a means of keeping Europe safe.
I urge this issue to be addressed in a constructive manner, to acknowledge its reality, and wipe out any sign of hate rhetoric. The Conservative Muslim Forum, national media, and high profile members and peers of the Conservative Party have called for an “Independent inquiry into Islamophobia within the members, structures, electoral campaigns and public representatives of the party”.
As a chaplain working with youth, we are dedicated to exterminating any signs of hate on our campus, we urge the government to demonstrate a continued commitment to tackling bigotry, and act as role models to youth all over the UK. I hope the Conservative Party appreciates my genuine concern, and pursues further reviews into Islamophobia in the party.