LONDON: Britain’s Conservative Party has suspended 14 members over alleged Islamophobia, it emerged on Tuesday, amid calls for an independent inquiry into widespread “bigotry” within the ruling party.
The members were reportedly suspended after numerous abusive posts were uncovered on social media, collected online by the @matesjacob Twitter account.
One individual claimed they would like to “turf all Muslims out of public office,” and another wanted to “get rid of all mosques,” The Guardian reported.
A third wrote they could not vote for Home Secretary Sajid Javid because that would amount to a vote for “Islam to lead this country,” according to reports.
The members were reportedly suspended for Islamophobic posts in a Facebook group called the “Jacob Rees-Mogg Supporters Group.”
A Conservative Party spokesman told Arab News the Facebook group involved “is in no way affiliated with the Conservative Party and many of the people identified on it are not party members.”
“However we have identified some people who are party members and they have been immediately suspended, pending further investigation.
“When we find evidence of members making offensive or inappropriate comments, we consistently take decisive action. Discrimination or abuse of any kind is wrong and will not be tolerated.”
It is understood that the party is not naming the individuals because it considers the matter “confidential.”
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said that the scale of Islamophobia “at all levels of the party is astonishing.”
The MCB spokesperson added: “We’ve seen MPs, councillors and members engage in bigotry that should have no place in a modern Conservative Party. Yet the constructive call by Muslim communities for an independent inquiry into the issue has been ignored again and again. Instead we hear excuses, denials and the responses we would expect when there is an institutional problem. We call again for an independent inquiry, and hope the call will now be heeded”
Baroness Warsi, who was the UK’s first female Muslim cabinet minister, has said Prime Minister Theresa May had “failed to tackle the problem head on” regarding Islamophobia.
Warsi said the party had “turned a blind eye” to prejudice and become “institutionally Islamophobic,” the BBC reported.
“She doesn’t listen, she fails to acknowledge when there is a problem,” Warsi said of May.
“It’s probably symptomatic of the way in which her leadership has dealt with other matters … Burying your head in the sand is not going to make problems go away.”