17 December 2019
Conservative review chair appointment risks whitewash inquiry
The Muslim Council of Britain today repeated its calls for an independent inquiry into Islamophobia specifically after the Conservative Party announced the appointment of Professor Swaran Singh to lead the review into prejudice and discrimination in the party. Not only does the Council have deep reservations about the appointed chair, the very remit of the inquiry threatens to ignore the systemic problems of Islamophobia in the party.
The call comes despite a promise in June by the Prime Minister and senior Conservatives to look into Islamophobia specifically. By broadening the remit and looking at discrimination more generally, it is likely that the review is pre-programmed to ignore the mounting evidence of Islamophobia across the Conservative Party.
Singh’s appointment does not come without controversy. For example, he chose to write for Spiked this year despite it being a magazine well-known for its hostile views on Muslims, including downplaying the Srebrenica genocide, calling Islamophobia a myth and even undermining the fight against hate crime.
Harun Khan, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain said:
“This appointment is at risk of being seen in the same light as the Conservative Party’s customary approach to Islamophobia, that of denial, dismissal and deceit.
“We were promised an independent inquiry into Islamophobia specifically. Now we have a review that aims to broaden the scope to examine discrimination more generally. A laudable aim if it were not for the fact that the Conservative Party is afflicted with a particular type of bigotry which it refuses to countenance. The appointment of Professor Singh does not instil huge confidence in the process.”