Conservative Party Boots Politician for Islamophobia

Tejas Sandhu/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Tejas Sandhu/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A leading figure in the U.K. Conservative Party has been suspended for Islamophobia and racism, after claiming that London Mayor Sadiq Khan is under the control of Islamists.

The Conservative Party’s former deputy chairman Lee Anderson made the comments during a news segment Friday night, when he accused Khan, London’s first Muslim mayor, of prioritizing Islamic concerns.

“I don’t actually believe that these Islamists have got control of our country, but what I do believe is they've got control of Khan and they’ve got control of London,” Anderson said, according to the Daily Mail. “This stems with Khan; he’s actually given our capital city away to his mates.

“Beware, because if you let Labour in through the back door, expect more of this and expect our cities to be taken over by these lunatics,” Anderson said of Khan’s left-leaning political party.

On Saturday, Khan strongly denounced Anderson’s comments, saying they “pour fuel on the fire of anti-Muslim hatred,” according to Sky News.

Then, Khan questioned U.K. Prime Minister Rushi Sunak’s silence on the matter, as well as other members of the conservative party.

“The message it sends is Muslims are fair game when it comes to racism and anti-Muslim hatred,” Khan told Sky News. “It’s not good enough in 2024 in the United Kingdom.”

After Anderson refused to apologize for the discriminatory remarks, Chief Whip Simon Hart suspended the party whip from Anderson, who will now have to serve as an independent, according to The Guardian.

The Muslim Council of Britain said Anderson’s comments come after an increase in Islamophobic hate crimes during the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza and “influential [Members of Parliament] and a donor to the Conservative party are endorsing common talking points that peddle conspiracy theories and Islamophobic tropes of alleged Muslim takeovers of our country.”

“While we welcome Mr. Anderson’s suspension, his comments did not occur in a vacuum and is only the tip of an iceberg,” the organization said, according to the Daily Mail. “Conservative politicians have brazenly leaned into the ‘Muslims are taking over’ trope. The Conservative Party has an Islamophobia problem. They need to own up to it.”

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