Muslims offer Eid al-Azha prayers at the National Mosque, during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Abuja, Nigeria, 31 July 2020
Muslims offer Eid al-Azha prayers at the National Mosque, during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Abuja, Nigeria, 31 July 2020Reuters file photo

British Muslim Labour Party members and supporters have witnessed Islamophobia within the country’s biggest opposition party, a recent report has found.

An investigation carried out by Labour Muslim Network and reported by ITV News, revealed that more than a third of Muslims associated with the Labour Party have witnessed Islamophobia.

Forty-four per cent said they do not believe the party takes the issue of rising Islamophobia seriously, and 48 per cent said they have lost confidence in the party’s complaints structures.

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Ali Reza Milani, who stood against prime minister Boris Johnson in Uxbridge and South Ruislip parliamentary constituency in the last year’s general election, claimed a fellow party member told him Muslims could not be in the parliament because of “their propensity to violence” and asked if he was a terrorist, ITV News reported.

It’s quite regular to be asked questions and to constantly be asked to reaffirm my commitment towards British society as if in some way my identity and politics are not compatible
Apsana Begum, Labour MP, Poplar and Limehouse constituency

Milani said: “It hurts to feel like I experienced that sort of abuse from a party member and it not only took a year for them to get back to me, but the complaint was lost. It’s just hurtful.”

Muslim MP from Manchester Gorton, Afzal Khan, who also heads the parliamentary chair of Labour Muslim Network, said Islamophobia within the party had gone “unnoticed” and “deserved immediate attention”.

“Whilst the Labour Party has enjoyed the overwhelming support of the Muslim community for decades, we cannot take their support for granted.

“The Labour Party must commit to a zero tolerance of Islamophobia and rebuild confidence with its Muslim members,” Khan said.

Labour MP Apsana Begum representing the Poplar and Limehouse constituency told ITV News: “It’s quite regular to be asked questions and to constantly be asked to reaffirm my commitment towards British society as if in some way my identity and politics are not compatible.”

The report also revealed that 59 per cent of Muslims surveyed said they did not feel well represented by the Labour Party.

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Responding to the report, the Labour leader Keir Starmer, and deputy leader, Angela Rayner, said: “We thank Labour Muslim Network for this important report, as well as their work to ensure our Muslim members are represented, included and heard.

“Islamophobia has no place in our party or society and we are committed to rooting it out.

“We look forward to working with LMN to implement their recommendations and will be meeting with them to discuss the next steps in tackling the scourge of Islamophobia.”