Sajid Javid Appeared on TV with Andrew Marr on Sunday and was questioned about what the Conservatives are doing to tackle the issue of Islamophobia within the party. This came after both the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) and the former Conservative minister, party chair and now peer, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, called on Brandon Lewis, the Conservative Party chairman, to hold an urgent inquiry into Islamophobia running rampant within the party.

However, even after the MCB accused the party of failing to take it seriously, Sajid Javid appeared on The Andrew Marr Show and dismissed that the party had an issue with Islamophobia and even went as far to accuse the MCB of extremist links.

The MCB issue

Sajid Javid’s defence of the Conservatives amounted to him dismissing the claims from Baroness Warsi, using himself as an example of how they party is not Islamophobic and then pushing fault with the MCB and claiming that they have links to extremism.

Firstly, the MCB did create a panel to look into their alleged ties with known Ahmadi Muslim hate group Almi Majlis Tahaffuz Khatme Nubuwat (AMTKN) (usually shortened to Khatme Nabuwat), who’s members did include Mr Tanveer Ahmad, a Sunni Muslim of Pakistani origin, who killed Ahmadi Muslim shopkeeper Mr Asad Shah in Glasgow and was sentenced to 27 years in prison, albeit according to Kashif N. Chaudhry of the Huffington Post, the panel did include individuals who have ties to that same hate group.

The MCB have their own issues and they clarified that they did not identify Mr Shah as a Muslim, this does highlight the tensions that can be felt across the various Muslim factions and that minorities exploit them for their own means. The Quilliam Foundation have in the past spoken out against these links within the MCB but then they themselves have been grilled by MPs over their alliances with known Islamophobes.

These include the Islamophobic Gatestone Institute, who’s obsession with anti-Islam rhetoric include contributors such as Richard Spencer, who runs the Jihad Watch website that was cited 162 times by Norwegian Anders Breivik in his manifesto before he went on and massacred 77 people in 2011

Rampant Islamophobia?

However, Sajid Javid has used the issues within the MCB to dismiss the known and very frequent anti-Islam rhetoric that is used by Conservative MPs and members, this is counter-productive in tackling Islamist extremism and Islamophobic extremism within the UK.

On the morning of the MCB’s call for them to look into the Islamophobia within the party, Baroness Warsi appeared on Good Morning Britain and revealed how she herself experiences abuse at the hand of member of her own party, stating that she was even called the ‘p’ word in party meetings and in March said that there were “weekly occurrences” of it within the party. The MCB responded to Sajid Javid’s comment (Tweet below) and Baroness Warsi has since stated that he was “in denial”.

The letter sent to Brandon Lewis (Tweet below), cites several examples of Islamophobia and in a further letter to Theresa May cite the infamous Mayoral campaign by Zac Goldsmith that was widely condemned as Islamophobic after he used many disparaging remarks about Sadiq Khan.

Furthermore, Sajid Javid has been a vocal critic of ‘anti-Semitism’ within the Labour Party, which they have just announced new measures to tackle the issue.

Whatever view you may proscribe to about the furore, the fact that Mr Javid is willing to dismiss this as an issue when the evidence says otherwise is astoundingly hypocritical. Then again, the MCB have been very vocally critical over Israel’s actions against the Palestinian people and the reason Baroness Warsi resigned from her cabinet position in 2014 was because Israeli forces murdering Palestinians in Gaza.

There is no surprise that Sajid Javid was sent by the party to tackle this line of questioning, he has Muslim heritage yet confirmed in 2010 that he doesn’t practice the religion himself. He is the PR of the party against anyone who claims Islamophobia and is evidently quite happy to play the part. This is counter-productive to the issues and legitimises anti-Islam rhetoric across the country and furthermore, it aims to silence criticisms and conversations about Islamophobia.