As many are aware, after the Labour Muslim Network (LMN) presented its findings in a report in November 2020 about islamophobia in the Labour Party, the Lewisham Islamic Centre (LIC) raised this pressing concern with the Labour Party.
The LIC is pleased to report back to the community that the local party recently invited us to its council meeting to discuss Islamophobia. It was a great opportunity to share with elected representatives and members the issues and challenges facing the Muslim community, both domestically and internationally. We were heartened to hear members highlighting the double standards in how other forms of discrimination are taken more seriously than Islamophobia. Although we do not seek to create a hierarchy amongst minority groups as we are all victims of the same oppressive system, it is clear that such hierarchy exists in the corridors of power. It was made clear that the Muslim community did not seek special treatment, but rather equal treatment.
We also made clear at the meeting that many organisations hold events on Islamophobia as a tick box exercise and will often consult and invite individuals and organisations with zero credibility in the Muslim community and considered co-opted by Islamophobes, and as such rather than helping, these events become viewed with scepticism and disappointment in the Muslim community. Thus we advised that it is always best to work with local / trusted partners.
We welcomed the local party’s renewed pledge to fighting Islamophobia and MP Ellie Reeves’ promise to work with the Centre in tackling this issue. We look forward to working with her on this and many other pressing civic matters.
One of the aims of LMN’s report was for it to act as the starting point of a conversation to create a more open and accountable Labour Party. We took away from this meeting the reassurance that process has begun, but we cannot rest on our laurels and must see positive change now taking place.
Finally, LIC would like to make clear that as a charity, it does not endorse or support any political party.