Growing up in Luton, I’ve seen first-hand the consequences of dangerous hysteria whipped up about Muslim communities and how these narratives have empowered the far-right. Whilst far-right organisations like Britain First and the English Defence League have plagued towns like mine for many years, the issue goes beyond a few bad apples.
Islamophobia is not exclusive to the far-right; it is a systemic issue. It is present in our media, in our major political parties and more broadly across our society. It is the failure of mainstream media outlets and politicians to adequately address this vile bigotry that has allowed it to thrive. Not only have many of our politicians and media outlets ignored the issue; some have played an active role in whipping it up.
Last year, a Hope Not Hate report revealed widespread Islamophobia present within the UK’s governing party. The report found that 57% of Conservative Party members had a negative view of Muslims and nearly half believed Islam is a threat to the British way of life.