A Muslim Brotherhood-led campaign alleging Islamophobia within Britain’s ruling Conservative party has led the most senior cabinet minister from a Muslim background to warn he is being targeted by a hate-filled trolls.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid has dismissed the allegations and subsequent calls for an inquiry, which have gained the backing of former party chairman Sayeeda Warsi. A social media campaign spearheaded by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) and the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) has sought to put pressure on the Conservatives. Highlighting a handful of instances, including a deleted tweet from a backbench MP, they have alleged the party has “normalised Islamophobia”.
According to a 2015 British government report, the Muslim Brotherhood “dominated” the MAB and “played an important role in establishing and then running” the MCB.
Mr Javid has fought back, pointing out how he had been targeted personally. “Since becoming home secretary, I've been called a Coconut, an Uncle Tom and much worse," he said. “And some people even question whether I'm really Muslim or not. Some say I'm too Muslim, others say I'm not Muslim enough. I can't keep up.
“But there's one thing I do know about being a Muslim in Great Britain today,” he added. “And that is that I have the freedom to define myself, not Muslim extremists or the far right.
“My relationship with God is my business. Just as yours is."
Mr Javid, who is widely tipped as a future prime minister, dismissed the claims of the MCB to be the voice of British Muslims. He pointed out that the last Labour government severed dialogue with the group.
"The Muslim Council of Britain does not represent Muslims in this country. You find me a group of Muslims that thinks they're represented by the MCB,” he said. "I would be very suspicious of anything that they've got to say, not least because, under the last Labour government - and a policy continued by us, we don't deal with the MCB.
"We don't deal with it because too many of their members have had favourable comments on extremists and that's not acceptable."
Now a member of the House of Lords, Lady Warsi has offered to lead an inquiry. Her party ally Mohammed Amin, the head of the Conservative Muslim Forum, has backed her call.
Brandon Lewis, the party chairman, has dismissed their claims however and there is dismay at the hijacking of the issue. Pointing out Lady Warsi remains aggrieved that she no longer serves at the top of the party, one analyst said the MCB campaign gave her a platform to use against her colleagues. “The MCB really want to force the government to move back to talking to it and Sayeeda Warsi creates the pressure to push Conservatives to meet its demands,” he said. “It’s about building an agenda.”
The row also detracts attention from allegations of anti-Semitism surrounding Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader. Newspaper reports suggest that the MCB and MAB have a long-standing alliance with the left-winger that has bolstered the position of extremist Islamists within the opposition.
"For almost 20 years now there has been an alliance between Jeremy Corbyn's anti-Iraq war coalition and organisations linked to the radical Muslim Brotherhood," the Daily Telegraph warned. "To their shame the MCB – who were the first to call for an enquiry into Islamophobia in the Tory party – have used the term as a political card."