HOPE not hate has today published an open letter to Boris Johnson MP and Jeremy Hunt MP after a new poll reveals deeply worrying levels of Islamophobic beliefs among the party membership.
The YouGov polling of 864 party members reveals that many now buy into Islamophobic myths, including 67 per cent who believe that “there are areas in Britain that operate under Sharia law” and 45 per cent who think “there are areas in Britain in which non-Muslims are not able to enter”.
A strong hostility to the idea of having a Muslim as prime minister was also revealed, even though only a tiny percentage believe there is an issue of Islamophobia within the party, with nearly 80% denying there is any problem at all.
“From the grassroots to the great offices of state, Conservative members buy into racist myths, with almost half unwilling to have a Muslim Prime Minister – and only 8 per cent being proud to have one – and most denying that there’s even an issue to confront,” said Matthew McGregor, HOPE not hate’s campaigns director.
Four in ten Tory Party members believe that “Islamist terrorists reflect a widespread hostility to Britain amongst the Muslim community”, with members also much more opposed to Muslim immigration than from those of other faiths.
Just 3 per cent say that an immigration policy should be geared to higher Muslim immigration, compared to 12 per cent for people fleeing war, 16 per cent for Jewish people and 25 per cent for Christians.
Forty per cent of Tory Party members believe that we should lower the number of Muslims entering Britain, as opposed to just 5 per cent who want to see fewer Christians or Jewish people enter the country.
Speaking about the results, McGregor added: “No mainstream political party should accept racism and racists within its ranks.
“The Conservatives have paid lip service by saying they have zero tolerance to Islamophobia and anti-Muslim prejudice, but this new poll confirms they face a real crisis. From the grassroots to the great offices of state, Conservative members buy into racist myths, with almost half unwilling to have a Muslim Prime Minister – and only 8 per cent being proud to have one – and most denying that there’s even an issue to confront.
“After months of revelations that Conservative activists and councillors have been belatedly suspended or expelled over Islamophobic or racist incidents, the fact that the overwhelming majority of members think there isn’t an issue is chilling.
“The first step to challenge this crisis should be a show of leadership from Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson. They most both confront the racism of some party members and the complacency of others, state clearly that they accept there is a problem, and confirm their commitment at last week’s TV debate to a full and independent investigation.”
Read HOPE not hate’s letter to Boris Johnson MP and Jeremy Hunt MP: here