LONDON: Muslim organizations in the UK have condemned a claim by a senior Labour Party strategist that antisemitism among Muslims is responsible for the main opposition party’s decline in popularity.
The anonymous party strategist told the Mail on Sunday newspaper that Labour is “haemorrhaging” support from Muslims due to “what (party leader) Keir (Starmer) has been doing on antisemitism.”
The source claimed that Muslim voters are frustrated by excessive efforts to tackle antisemitism.
The Labour Muslim Network (LMN) on Sunday wrote to Starmer urging him to “urgently and publicly” challenge this view, saying the anonymous claim is a “patently vile, Islamophobic briefing by a ‘senior Labour official’.”
It added: “This racism needs to be challenged urgently and publicly by the Labour leadership and the party as a whole. There can be no hiding behind the anonymity of the source and briefing.
“LMN and Muslim members expect thorough and immediate action. Islamophobia from ‘senior Labour strategists’ cannot be tolerated.”
The accusations have come ahead of the crucial Batley & Spen by-election in England’s northwest, where Labour is set to lose its seat amid declining Muslim support.
A poll has revealed that Labour is set to lose Batley and Spen, with 47 percent of the vote expected to go to the Conservative Party.
Miqdaad Versi, a media spokesperson for the Muslim Council of Britain, said: “Those who have tried to understand, have identified many local issues as well as Labour positions on Palestine, Kashmir and Islamophobia — and being seen to take Muslim voters for granted. If advisors to the Labour leader don’t get this, they shouldn’t be talking about it.”
He added: “Any senior Labour official who tells the media that Muslims are not voting Labour because Muslims support antisemitism, should be sacked. No ifs, no buts.”