Labour ‘Islamophobia’: More than half of party’s Muslim supporters ‘do not trust new leadership to deal with racism’

More than half of Labour’s Muslim members do not believe the leadership of the party is able to deal with Islamophobia, a survey has found.

The research, commissioned and conducted by the Labour Muslim Network (LMN), found that 55% of respondents said they do not “trust the leadership of the Labour Party to tackle Islamophobia effectively.”

A further 59% of Muslim members and supporters did not feel “well represented by the leadership of the party”.

It also found that more than 1 in 4 of the party’s Muslims have also directly experienced Islamophobia within the party.

A third of Labour’s Muslims, meanwhile, said they have witnessed Islamophobia in Labour first hand – with 48% reporting they did not have confidence in the party’s ability to deal with complaints “effectively”.

The survey of 422 Labour Muslim members and supporters is the latest sign suggesting that Sir Keir Starmer’s new leadership is losing the trust of the party’s members from minority groups.

It comes after the anti-Semitism crisis that resulted in a proportion of the party’s Jewish vote collapsing.

One respondent said growing Islamophobia, if left untreated, “will not only damage (the) Labour Party but will cause huge uproar and divisions too”.

Islamophobia is defined by the report as being “a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness”.

The LMN found that 44% of those it surveyed believe Labour is failing to take the issue of Islamophobia “seriously”.

The system to tackle it, one Labour supporter quoted in the report said, “remains unfit for purpose”.

The supporter added: “The sophistication of racism and Islamophobia today is not recognised or accommodated by procedures”.

Several members report they are still waiting to hear back from complaints submitted – more than a year later.

Direct experiences of Islamophobia were not the only issues cited in the report.

The report also refers to Labour’s approach to domestic issues, including its stance on the counter-terrorism Prevent strategy, and internationally, its dealing with human rights abuses in the Palestinian Territories and its “perceived change” in Kashmir policy earlier this year.

The report adds that some key policy issues are causing “hurt” among some Muslim members.

Labour says it will meet with the LMN to discuss how to solve the “scourge” of Islamophobia.

Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer and Deputy Leader Angela Rayner said in a joint statement: “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.”

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