Boris Johnson's burqa comments 'made Tories look insensitive to Muslims', report finds 4 months ago

Boris Johnson's burqa comments 'made Tories look insensitive to Muslims', report finds

An independent report into Islamophobia in the Conservative party has found prejudice towards Muslims is a problem within the party

The inquiry, led by former equality and human rights commissioner Professor Swaran Singh, found that anti-Muslim sentiment in the party "remains a problem."

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During the party leadership contest 2019, all candidates promised to launch an investigation into Islamophobia within the party, including prime minister Boris Johnson.

Singh's report looked at 1,418 complaints and 727 incidents on Islamophobia logged by the party between 2015-2020.

Comments made by Johnson, such as describing Muslim women that wear burqas as "letterboxes" and "bank robbers", were found by some interviewees for the report as "discriminatory and unacceptable."

The report also stated that the actions from other senior Tories, such as Lord Zac Goldsmith's London mayoral campaign which was criticised for Islamophobia, gave the impression the party was hostile to Muslim people.

The report said the existing issues are "damaging to the party, and alienates a significant section of society."

Despite this, it said there was no evidence complaints regarding Islamophobia were treated differently to other complaints within the party - but Singh told Press Association (PA) the process as "clunky, cumbersome, slow, and not transparent."

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Also speaking to Press Association, Singh said "I'm not saying that the party leadership is insensitive to Muslim communities. I'm saying the perception is very strong."

The findings come after criticism from within the party on its record on Islamophobia, including former Conservative party chair Sayeeda Warsi, who has spoken out frequently about the scale of the issue in her party.

Warsi has in the past accused the party of "institutional racism" on the issue of Islamophobia - however, the Singh report stopped short of finding the Conservative party "institutionally racist" claiming there was no evidence to support the notion.

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Amanda Milling, Conservative co-chair, said in response to the report that the party would respond to the report later today.