Demonstrators holding banner reading Not In Our Name

There has been an explosion of Islamophobia in this country since the Hamas attack on Israel on 7th October, a threefold increase according to Tell Mama — and it is not just online abuse. Nearly half the cases, out of a total of 2,010, involved physical assault, abusive behaviour, threats, and acts of vandalism — and two-thirds of the victims were Muslim women. 

This is no surprise, as Labour and Tory politicians have demonised the protests against Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza. Demonstrations have been labelled ‘hate marches’. They have tried to criminalise the carrying of Palestinian flags and placards as antisemitic hate crimes. The message, amplified by a pliant media, is that, if you are a Muslim or a peace protestor calling for a ceasefire, you are a de facto supporter of terrorism. This is in sharp contrast to the mood in the country where the majority want a ceasefire now, and an end to the suffering in Gaza.

When the SNP tabled a motion calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and condemning the Israeli war crime of inflicting collective punishment on Palestinian civilians, Labour stepped in with a wrecking amendment. When Speaker Hoyle allowed the amendment in breach of normal parliamentary protocol, the Tories joined the SNP in walking out. The amendment passed unopposed. Westminster insiders have suggested the Tories were motivated, not by a defence of parliamentary procedure, but by a fear that if it came to a vote they lacked the numbers to overturn the Labour amendment and pass their own. In this way at least they could ensure that the SNP motion would be defeated.

It was a disgraceful display of parliamentary manoeuvring in which the parties placed political advantage over the desperate need of the Palestinian people for an end to the carnage and destruction of their homeland; but worse was yet to come. Somehow, in the space of a few hours, a story that should have been about abuse of parliament and collusion with the Zionist lobby to whitewash Israeli war crimes became a defence of democracy against mob rule.

Hoyle and Starmer led the way with spurious tales of Labour MPs under threat from Islamists who were intimidating them in their constituencies in order to pressure them to vote for a ceasefire. In reality, two-thirds of the UK want a ceasefire now. When our views are ignored we lobby our MPs — not like the corporate lobbyists with deep pockets, but with placards, protests and petitions. If MPs are intimidated by their constituents’ demands, they are probably in the wrong job.

But, having let the Tories off the hook on Wednesday, Labour’s attempt to cover their backs has given the Tories a fresh opportunity to ramp up Islamophobia. Suella Braverman, Kim Badenoch, Lee Anderson, and Lord Walney (aka John Woodcock, Labour turncoat and rampant Zionist) have all stepped in to attack ‘the Islamists’ who are allegedly undermining our democracy.

Lee Anderson went too far in attacking London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, and has been suspended, not for being racist, but for being wrong about Sadiq Khan. Sunak, along with Starmer and the rest of the establishment politicians, has not condemned the use of the word ‘Islamist’, a word used by the racists to condemn all Muslims and anybody on the left who condemns the genocide in Gaza and wants a ceasefire to stop the killing.

As a consequence, we can expect even more attacks on brown-skinned people who might be Muslims — but the racists aren’t too fussed either way, and women will continue to be targeted because the racists aren’t too brave. Thank you, Starmer, for fuelling racism and once more failing to stand up for the rights of the oppressed.

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