Jewish students and human rights activists this week said they “stand in solidarity” with Muslim peers in calling for an investigation into Islamophobia in the Conservative Party.
The Union of Jewish Students (UJS) expressed “outrage at the recent scourge of anti-Muslim hatred” from Tory councillors and MPs, while the Jewish Council for Racial Equality (JCORE) likened the problem to anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.
The UJS intervention comes just days after the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) demanded an independent inquiry, naming Harrow East MP Bob Blackman as having a particularly problematic record of belonging to Islamophobic online groups.
Jewish student leaders on Monday backed the calls for a thorough investigation and urged the Tory high command to “take a hard line on this insidious form of hate, act swiftly in disciplining those responsible and commission an inquiry”.
Both UJS and JCORE referred to the Jewish community’s concerns about anti-Semitism in the Labour Party in referencing the Muslim community’s concerns about the Conservative Party.
A UJS spokesman said: “When the Jewish community stood outside Parliament and demanded ‘enough is enough’ with anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, we were grateful to be joined by allies from other minority communities.
“So it is only right that when the Muslim community is facing abuse, our community too stands behind them entirely.”
The MCB say recent incidents include Conservatives tweeting that the Prophet Mohammed was “a f****** paedophile,” describing Islam “the new Nazism” and re-tweeting articles that call Muslims “parasites”.
JCORE director Dr Edie Friedman said the organisation “welcomes the call for Islamophobia to be investigated within the Conservative Party” and likened it to Jewish concerns about Labour.
“In the same way as there is a focus on combatting anti-Semitism including within the Labour Party, it is incumbent on all groups and communities to come together to look at how we can be more effective in combatting hate speech and behaviour across the entire political spectrum,” she said.
“This requires action from the leadership and grassroots of all political parties, religious organisations and civil society. Prejudice directed towards any group is an affront to our society and weakens the social cohesion on which we all depend.”
On Monday, Home Secretary Sajid Javid rejected demands for an inquiry by the MCB, which he said “does not represent Muslims,” and denied that the Conservative Party had a problem within its ranks.
He added that the government does not deal with the MCB “because too many of their members have had favourable comments on extremists and that’s not acceptable”.
MCB General-Secretary Harun Khan said Javid’s comments just prove the point, adding: “The reality of Islamophobia is that Muslims and the MCB have to deal with the smear of extremism even though they have clearly and consistently condemned violence perpetrated by people who claim to do this in the name of our religion.”