We are appalled to learn that Conservative MP, Bob Blackman, has hosted Tapan Ghosh in
Parliament on the 18th Of October. Attendees included the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, Theresa May’s deputy Damian Green, International Development Secretary Priti Patel and Communities Secretaries Sajid Javid, as well as former Tory cabinet minister Theresa Villiers.
Ghosh is a far-right Hindu nationalist and virulently Islamophobic hate preacher. He has called for the UN to control the birth rate of Muslims, endorsed violence against Muslims, praised the
genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Burma, and said Muslims should be forced to leave their religion if they come to a western country.
The UK has seen a huge increase in anti- Muslim hate crimes. For Blackman to provide an individual who perpetuates these hateful narratives a prestigious platform like the Houses of Parliament – which effectively validates his views – is entirely unacceptable and reprehensible. It should also be noted that Blackman is a member of the Department of Communities and Local Government committee and one the key objectives of the DCLG is to help nurture cohesive communities.
Last February, whilst speaking about so-called ‘Islamist’ preachers, Theresa May said: “Where non-violent extremism goes unchallenged, the values that bind our society together fragment…so while by no means all extremism leads to violence, it creates an environment in which those who seek to divide us can flourish”. In light of these events, this statement feels pretty hypocritical. It underlines and validates feelings within the Muslim community that the current narrative, legislation and attitudes at the heart of our government have been shaped by a blatantly partisan attitude.
This incident should not be allowed to go unchallenged. We have written to both our parliamentary representatives and the Conservative party locally to urge them to support our call for the Prime Minister to:
- Address what is described by the former Conservative Party Chairman, Sayeeda Warsi, as
the “simmering underbelly of Islamophobia” in her party.
- Call for a formal investigation into the circumstances that allowed a hate speaker a platform in the Houses of Parliament.
- Seek responses from Conservative ministers who attended the event and clarification on
their views on speakers who express anti-Muslim sentiments.
- Ensure that Bob Blackman is removed from the DCLG Committee. His actions have
compromised his position and raise serious concerns about his suitability for the role.
Luton Council of Mosques
Luton Sunni Council of Mosques