British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has broken his promise of setting up inquiry to look specifically at the problem of Islamophobia in the ruling Conservative Party. After winning a solid majority in the general election earlier in this month, Johnson has announced a broader review into discrimination the party, despite previously being one of all the leadership candidates to promise an inquiry specifically into Islamophobia earlier this year, after then Prime Minister Theresa May resigned.
This general review into discrimination in the party has been criticised as a watered down version of what was promised; too broad to address specific and mounting accusations of Islamophobia and anti-muslim attitudes within the governing Party. The umbrella organisation, the Muslim Council of Britain, has said that broadening the inquiry in such a way “is likely that the review is pre-programmed to ignore the mounting evidence of Islamophobia across the Conservative party”
The choice of appointment for leading the inquiry has also been criticised. Professor Swaran Singh, a former member of the equalities watchdog, has been scrutinised by Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, former chairman of the Conservative Party, the most prominent voice within the party in highlighting the problem of Islamophobia with her party brought to light past comments and associations of Singh, which suggested he was not an appropriate choice for any investigation that would include anti-Muslim attitudes. For example, she drew attention to an article in which Singh accused Muslims in Kashmir of ethnically cleansing Kashmir and driving out other religious communities; an article which was written for online Magazine Spiked, a magazine which is linked to far-right figures. Muslim Council of Britain secretary general Harun Khan also criticised Singh’s appointment, stating that the selection of Singh was as “at risk of being seen in the same light as the Conservative Party’s customary approach to Islamophobia, that of denial, dismissal and deceit.”