Dear Keir Starmer
We are writing to express our deep concerns following the publication of the latest report by the Labour Muslim Network on Islamophobia within the Labour Party.
The findings, some of which are set out below, are very damning:
29% have directly experienced Islamophobia in the party;
44% did not believe the party takes the issue of Islamophobia seriously;
59% do not feel well represented;
55% do not trust the leadership to deal with the issue;
56% do not believe that the shadow cabinet represents the Muslim community.
As you will be aware, there has been an issue of anti-Semitism in the party which has been much publicised, and we have seen you coming out strongly and robustly on that issue, and rightly so. We have however been disappointed with your response on the issue of Islamophobia. Unfortunately, it seems to be similar to your response on the issue of Kashmir which was again raised by the Muslim community with you earlier this year. It does not appear that you have done much about the Kashmir issue since, and we are concerned that the same will now follow with the issue of Islamophobia. Unless you come out with the same vigour to fight Islamophobia as you did with anti-Semitism within the party, unfortunately, we fear this will cause irreparable damage to your reputation within the Muslim community.
As a bearer of public office, you will be acutely aware of your public following and therefore civic responsibilities and the perilous implications of any perceived inaction. We call on the Labour Party to take immediate and robust action against of eradicating Islamophobia from within its ranks and from society. We also call upon you and the Party to show its sincere commitment to tackling Islamophobia as it has done with anti-Semitism.
The Muslim experience is indeed a unique one in that at the time of writing, there are serious issues of Islamophobia in both of the two largest political parties in Britain.
We would like to add however that whilst our experiences of your leadership thus far in dealing with issues concerning the Muslim community has not been a positive one, we have always found the local labour party here in Lewisham to be respectful, accommodating and supportive.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Trustees of Lewisham Islamic Centre