Sajid Javid Is One of Many
Sajid Javid caused a stir recently when he used the assumed inviolability of his identity to launch a directed attack on the Asian community.
The Home Secretary was accused of ‘sowing division’ last week by MPs and human rights campaigners alike with his tweet on the conviction of members of a Huddersfield grooming gang, labelling them ‘Asian paedophiles’. The twenty members of the grooming gang convicted were, in fact, British Asians; however, his fixation on the minor detail of the predators’ ethnicity begs the question, what is Sajid trying to achieve? The inquiry set up this summer to assess the characteristics and background of grooming gangs came in response to an article claiming ‘Britain has an issue with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls’. Thus many have pointed to the inquiry as an assessment on why Asian men were supposedly more likely to be part of grooming gangs- rather than prioritising assessment of where safeguards have failed to prevent future cases of child sexual exploitation. In these tense times, the Home Secretary’s comments and action suggest an agenda since often in British society we tend to paint whole minority communities with the same broad strokes as a few members of that community, often stoking up racial tensions which dichotomised communities.
The last part of Javid’s tweet, however, is even more dangerous than the first. His dramatic, self-serving declaration, ‘Not on my watch. There will be no no-go areas’, is a lazy attempt to appeal to islamophobic pundits and their patrons who have peddled decrepit claims of Muslim no-go areas in the UK, where ‘Shari’a law (law) reigns supreme, and even police try and stay away’ (Fox News). The useless assertion against ‘no-go areas’ works only to drive the already disproven claims made by caricature pundits such as Britain’s favourite objective political analyst, Katie Hopkins - who, when asked to name a no-go areas on the BBC Daily Politics show, became flustered, stumbling over the excuse of ‘legal issues’ in naming any particular area - probably because the claims lack legitimacy and are completely unsubstantiated - as proven by her clash with West Midlands Police in 2017.
Allison Pearson, of the Telegraph, tells us in plain terms why Sajid is the perfect representative of the right-wing anti-minority, anti-Muslim, brigade:
‘One of the many benefits of having a Home Secretary who has made the bumpy journey from Pakistani bus driver’s son to high office is that it’s hard for his opponents to call him racist.’ (The Telegraph)
While Sajid Javid, is emblematic of the rampant Islamophobia in the Conservative party, he has not been reserved as the sole mouthpiece of views which so transparently pander to far-right voters, though there seems to be a belief that his prominent existence among them, as an individual from a Muslim, Pakistani family, lends some form of legitimacy. Sajid himself went as far as to use his name, a quite Muslim one, to counter claims made by the Muslim Council of Britain of rampant Islamophobia in his party, that have been strongly supported by Baroness Warsi.
Since islamophobia has been on the up and up, more raucously than ever in recent times, we thought we would compile a list of some of the worst offences from the last couple of years:
The time that Boris Johnson, our culturally aware and diplomatic ex-Foreign Secretary, compared niqab-wearing women to letterboxes, while arguing against the ban of the garment - a stance Paul Mason, in the Newstatesman, describes as a potential miscalculation. Johnson, like Powell and Thatcher before him, “may have calculated that it was better to express mild Islamophobia to head off its more extreme forms; to own xenophobia and racism within the Tory party as a way of preventing more violent and extreme expressions of it.”
Note, Rod Liddle who writes for The Sunday Times, The Sun and The Spectator, in reaction to Johnson’s comments, proclaimed in the latter, how he believes “there is not nearly enough Islamophobia within the Tory party.” Interesting. I wonder what women are more oppressed by, the niqab, or burqa, which most women in Britain wear out of their own volition, exercising their freedom of choice, or the nasty people that will viciously attack them for using this freedom.
The many many things Bob Blackman has done. The Tory MP for Harrow East must either be incapable of navigating social media, using a simple search engine, or reading - or is surrounded by advisers who can’t do all three. His offences include but are not limited to: being part of racist, anti-semitic, islamophobic and violent far-right groups on Facebook, which, sure he wasn’t an active part of but the fact that he had been present in them, as well as the comfort with which he was added into them, is certainly revealing; hosting Indian Hindu nationalist Tapan Ghosh, who has accused all Muslims of being jihadis, endorsed the persecution of Rohingya Muslims and has appeared on Tommy Robinson’s YouTube channel - of course there was no way to search Ghosh and uncover his extremist views before providing him with a platform; and retweeting a post by Tommy Robinson containing his usual sweeping, racial claims, something Blackman apologised for but reportedly failed to undo it for some time after it was flagged.
The time the Tory Party re-hired Lynton Crosby, the election strategist who ran Zac Goldsmith’s desperately racist, presumptuous and islamophobic mayoral campaign in 2016. The offences within this were too numerous to deconstruct here.
The increasing polarisation in politics and the rise of ‘populism’ mean that the Tory party isn't alone in its Islamophobia - self-proclaimed liberals are constantly promulgating a crusade against the hijab and other characteristics of Islam which ‘threaten’ Western liberal democracy. However, it's time that the Islamophobia amongst Conservatives is as explosively revealed and condemned as Labour’s antisemitism row, and that both parties reflect inwardly on the divisions they are breeding amidst people they wish to represent.