The Labour Muslim Network (LMN) takes the lid off the Party to report a shocking level of embedded Islamophobia. Asking Muslim party members for their opinions they found:
• About a third reported having directly experienced Islamophobia within the structures of the Labour Party
• About a third reported that they had directly witnessed Islamophobia,
• About 40% did not believe the issue of Islamophobia is taken seriously,
• Over half hold the view that the shadow cabinet team does not represent the Muslim community effectively
• And over half do not trust the leadership to tackle Islamophobia effectively
On the McPherson principle that racist reports must be taken extremely seriously, we await the Labour Party response. Unfortunately, we will not be holding our breath.
The recently leaked internal Labour Party report on antisemitism revealed Islamophobic comments and views shared by Labour Party staff and inaction in tackling complaints.
The LMN reported that of over a third of Muslim members and supporters who had reported Islamophobia through the party complaints procedure were dissatisfied with the handling of their complaint
“My complaint has not been dealt with to this day despite being submitted a year ago.”
“I have complained to the Labour Party complaints but have not heard back.”
“I didn’t bother to submit a complaint, at the time I was the BAME Officer in the CLP and the other office holders were un-supportive to say the least.”
“The complaints are still being investigated almost one year later.”
Critclly the reports states, “Our research found that Labour’s connection to the Prevent program was influential in some respondents feeling not represented by the party”.
THE PARTY LEADERSHIP
The report’s recommendations include:
A commitment to equality for Muslims in the fight for anti-racism
This public commitment should come from the leader and deputy leader of the Labour Party, the party chair and the general secretary of
the Labour Party There needs to be a public acknowledgment of the policies, decisions and behaviours within the Party that have let Muslim members down when it comes to Islamophobia.
All policies adopted by the Labour Party to be equality impact assessed
For many Muslim members, it does not sit well that the Labour Party is seen as the architect party of the War on Terror. Therefore, going forward, the Party must make a concerted effort to assess the impact of Shadow Cabinet policies and Party voting decisions on Bills going through Parliament.
A new complaints procedure with transparency and confidence of impartiality
The current procedure does not work for Muslim members. The Party should develop a new, transparent and impartial procedure which inspires faith and confidence in members to report their experiences fully.
The Party leadership must commit to implementing these together with the further four recommendations. Fine words are just that, fine words. We await action to address this disgraceful embedded racism in the Party.