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UK Conservatives should investigate Tory Islamophobia: Muslim Council

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has called on the ruling Conservative Party to launch an urgent inquiry into Islamophobia among the Tories.

The largest Muslim representative organization said on Thursday that the Tories’ recent mayoral campaign was punctuated by “Islamophobic” smears against the newly elected mayor of London Sadiq Khan as well as the country’s Muslim community.

Khan, London’s first Muslim mayor, scored a resounding victory over his billionaire Conservative rival Zac Goldsmith. Khan’s victory has made international headlines as race and religion became the central issues of the Conservative campaign.

The Tories were accused of adopting “dog whistle” policy of drawing attention to Khan’s Muslim faith and trying to link him to extremist groups. They claimed that Khan is “radical” and that London would not be safe under his supervision.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister David Cameron apologized toSuliman Gani, a south London imam, for accusing him of supporting Takfiri Daesh group.

File photo shows London Mayor Sadiq Khan. ©AFP

Last month, Cameron said in the parliament that “Mr Khan has appeared on a platform with him (Gani) nine times. This man supports IS (Daesh). He even shared a platform.”

Meanwhile, British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon has also issued an apology for similar accusations about Gani during the mayoral campaign.

MCB secretary-general Shuja Shafi welcomed the apology but said the Conservatives should conduct a full inquiry into “the extent of Islamophobia in its own ranks”.

“I welcome the Prime Minister’s long overdue apology to Imam Sulaiman Ghani, a London imam who has thus far been unable to challenge claims made in Parliament that he supports Daesh or terrorism. As a result of these smears, we understand that Imam Ghani has been subject to abuse and threats on his life,” Shafi said.

He also urged Cameron and Fallon to make their apologies once again in the parliament. “Imam Ghani became the innocent casualty of a wider Islamophobic attack on the now mayor of London and the Conservative Party needs to apologize for this too.”

“Such smear-by-association has become all too common for Muslims and Muslim organizations. It is a cancer blighting sections of our political and media class and has infected the solemn business of government,” Shafi added.

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