Yesterday the Leave.EU campaign chose to publish a shocking tweet scapegoating Muslims. Supposedly put out to fight against anti-semitism, the tweet instead deployed Islamophobic tropes to garner support.
In response, the Muslim Council of Britain’s Secretary general has issued the following letter to the Leave.EU campaign.
Dear Liz Bilney,
Today your organisation sought to exploit genuine concerns of anti-semitism in our political culture by deploying unashamed bigotry against another faith minority in this country.
By issuing a tweet about more Muslims who voted for Labour than Jews, you plumbed new depths by repeating tired tropes that Britain’s three million Muslims are inherently anti-semitic. A similar charge was made by Brexit supporting Daily Mail journalist Quentin Letts a few months ago on ITV. Nigel Farage repeated the claim when he was allowed to take to our public airwaves to suggest that the Labour Party are anti-semitic because they were after the Muslim vote.
Britain’s Muslim community is diverse and not politically homogeneous. Many would have voted for Brexit, just as many would have opposed too.
Leave.EU’s tweet shows nothing else but opportunism. Exploiting genuine concerns raised about anti-semitism by deploying Islamophobia. This should have no place in our political culture and is unworthy of those seeking public support. It is dog-whistle politics of the worst kind.
Let us state clearly that we have and will continue to speak out against all forms of bigotry, including anti-semitism. No one wins when either Islamophobia, anti-semitism or any form of bigotry is fanned. While you seek to be divisive, Muslims and Jews across this country of ours are making efforts to reach out to each other, and seek common cause.
We hope you will reflect on this as you pursue your campaign. As our country transitions towards Brexit, what we need is more unity, not division.
Harun Khan, Secretary General, Muslim Council of Britain