Home secretary in Muslim Council of Britain spat

By Greg Heffer, political reporter
Home Secretary Sajid Javid sparked a row with the Muslim Council of Britain after he rejected their call for an independent inquiry into allegations of Islamophobia within the Conservative Party.
Demanding action from Conservative Party chairman Brandon Lewis last week, the council said the last month it had seen weekly incidents of Islamophobia from Conservative representatives and candidates.Former Tory chair Baroness Warsi backed up the claims and suggested there is a "simmering anti-Muslim underbelly of Islamophobia within the party".However, Mr Javid, appearing on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, dismissed the Conservative peer's comments, as he pointed to his Muslim background.He said: "For a start, let's just look at who the home secretary is in this country. My name is Sajid Javid, I'm the home secretary."Mr Javid also dismissed the demand for an investigation, adding: "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."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."
Home secretary in Muslim Council of Britain spat

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In response, Harun Khan, the MCB's secretary general, claimed Mr Javid had "chosen to shoot the messenger" rather than address their "serious concerns".Suggesting Mr Javid had attempted to "smear" his group, Mr Khan said: "We have identified real weekly cases of Islamophobia in the Conservative Party, which the party has even acknowledged by suspending members."These real concerns of Islamophobia are shared by two Conservative Muslim peers, as well as voices across the spectrum, many of them Conservatives."If the response is to instead attack the Muslim Council of Britain, it sadly indicates that the party has no interest in dealing with this matter with the seriousness it deserves.
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"We have long spoken out and proactively challenged terrorism and extremism, as have British Muslims across the country."The reality of Islamophobia is that Muslims and the Muslim Council of Britain 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."
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