UK’s Conservative Party suspends 14 members over alleged Islamophobia

Prime Minister Theresa May has been accused of failing to tackle Islamophobia ‘head on.’ (AFP)
Updated 05 March 2019

UK’s Conservative Party suspends 14 members over alleged Islamophobia

  • The members were reportedly suspended after numerous abusive posts were uncovered on social media
  • One individual wrote that they could not vote for Home Secretary Sajid Javid because that would amount to a vote for ‘Islam to lead this country’

LONDON: Britain’s Conservative Party has suspended 14 members over alleged Islamophobia, it emerged on Tuesday, amid calls for an independent inquiry into widespread “bigotry” within the ruling party.

The members were reportedly suspended after numerous abusive posts were uncovered on social media, collected online by the @matesjacob Twitter account.

One individual claimed they would like to “turf all Muslims out of public office,” and another wanted to “get rid of all mosques,” The Guardian reported.

A third wrote they could not vote for Home Secretary Sajid Javid because that would amount to a vote for “Islam to lead this country,” according to reports.

The members were reportedly suspended for Islamophobic posts in a Facebook group called the “Jacob Rees-Mogg Supporters Group.”

A Conservative Party spokesman told Arab News the Facebook group involved “is in no way affiliated with the Conservative Party and many of the people identified on it are not party members.”

“However we have identified some people who are party members and they have been immediately suspended, pending further investigation.

“When we find evidence of members making offensive or inappropriate comments, we consistently take decisive action. Discrimination or abuse of any kind is wrong and will not be tolerated.”

It is understood that the party is not naming the individuals because it considers the matter “confidential.”

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said that the scale of Islamophobia “at all levels of the party is astonishing.”

The MCB spokesperson added: “We’ve seen MPs, councillors and members engage in bigotry that should have no place in a modern Conservative Party. Yet the constructive call by Muslim communities for an independent inquiry into the issue has been ignored again and again. Instead we hear excuses, denials and the responses we would expect when there is an institutional problem. We call again for an independent inquiry, and hope the call will now be heeded”

Baroness Warsi, who was the UK’s first female Muslim cabinet minister, has said Prime Minister Theresa May had “failed to tackle the problem head on” regarding Islamophobia.

Warsi said the party had “turned a blind eye” to prejudice and become “institutionally Islamophobic,” the BBC reported.

“She doesn’t listen, she fails to acknowledge when there is a problem,” Warsi said of May.

“It’s probably symptomatic of the way in which her leadership has dealt with other matters … Burying your head in the sand is not going to make problems go away.”


Indian govt slammed over poor ranking in global hunger index

Visitors try out food at 'Bengaluru Aaharotsava', a 3-day vegetarian food festival, in Bangalore on October 18, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 19 October 2019

Indian govt slammed over poor ranking in global hunger index

  • This ranking reveals a colossal failure in Govt policy and blows the lid off the PM’s hollow ‘sabka vikas’ (development for all) claim,” tweeted Rahul Gandhi, who leads the opposition Congress party

NEW DELHI: India’s poor rating in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) has come in for sharp criticism, with the opposition calling it a “colossal failure of government policy.”
The GHI showed that India ranked 102 in the database of 117 nations and trailed its smaller South Asian neighbors Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. In 2000, India ranked 83 out of 113 nations.
The index is designed to measure and track hunger at a global, regional, and national level. The report, which was released on Wednesday, was a joint effort between Irish aid agency Concern Worldwide and German organization Welt Hunger Hilfe.
“This ranking reveals a colossal failure in Govt policy and blows the lid off the PM’s hollow ‘sabka vikas’ (development for all) claim,” tweeted Rahul Gandhi, who leads the opposition Congress party.
Thomas Isaac, finance minister in the southern state of Kerala, said: “The slide started with PM (Narendra) Modi’s ascension. In 2014 India was ranked 55. In 2017 it slipped to 100 and now to the levels of Niger and Sierra Leone. The majority of the world’s hungry now resides in India.”
The GHI score is based on four indicators — undernourishment; child wasting (children below five who have a low weight for their height, reflecting acute undernutrition); child stunting, (children under the age of five who have low height for their age, reflecting chronic undernutrition); and child mortality, the mortality rate of children under the age of five.
“India’s child wasting rate is extremely high at 20.8 percent, the highest for any country,” the report said. It added that, with a score of 30.3, India suffered from a level of hunger that was serious.

BACKGROUND

The Global Hunger Index showed that India ranked 102 in the database of 117 nations and trailed its smaller South Asian neighbors Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. In 2000, India ranked 83 out of 113 nations.

International NGO Save the Children  said the government needed to focus on wasting and stunting. Other low- and middle-income countries in the world which are faring better have actually scored better than India in those two areas, it added.
“There are nearly 1.8 million children in the country who are wasting and for that we will need comprehensive interventions, including the provision of therapeutic foods for such children to be managed at a community level,” it told Arab News.
The NGO warned of serious social consequences, with wasting leading to impaired cognitive ability and poor learning outcomes. “Furthermore, for underweight and stunted girls, it invokes a vicious cycle whereby initial malnutrition with early child-bearing gets translated into poor reproductive health outcomes.”
Arab News contacted the Child and Family Welfare Ministry for comment but did not get a response.
Nepal ranks 73 in the index, Sri Lanka is placed at 66, Bangladesh is in 88th place, Myanmar is at the 69th spot and Pakistan ranks 94.
The GHI said these countries were also in the serious hunger category, but that their citizens fared better than India’s.