Muslim MPs share horrifying hate they’ve received – but debate plunges into angry row

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Muslim MPs shared horrifying experiences of the hate they have received in a Commons debate on Islamophobia.

A Labour shadow minister revealed she was chased by a racist gang with dogs who ripped her clothes – while another MP was nine when asked if her dad was a terrorist.

A third MP, Labour’s Apsana Begum, said “I’m constantly having to cope with a vicious torrent of abuse” – being branded a “vile and filthy creature” and told “Muslims should be banned from public office, we can’t trust their allegiances”.

Ms Begum read messages she received saying “deport the filth”, “throw her and her family back to where she came from”, “chop her hands off”, and chillingly, “this could be one of her last statements”.

But the Westminster Hall debate plunged into a furious row after the Tory Equalities Minister accused Labour of turning the issue into a “political football”.

Kemi Badenoch hit out after Labour MP Afzal Khan accused Boris Johnson of “ignoring the issue”, failing to respond to a letter he wrote a year later.







Tory Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch accused Labour of turning the issue into a “political football”
(
Parliament TV)

Mr Khan said: “The truth is that the Conservative party has repeatedly shown it is in denial about this problem”.

But Tory MP James Daly complained the debate had “turned into the normal political attack on the Conservative Party”.

And Ms Badenoch said: “The highly partisan nature in which the debate has been opened, if watched by all Muslims in our constituencies, won’t look like people trying to tackle anti-Muslim hatred.

“[It] will look like they as a community are being used as a political football for political goals.”

That prompted furious condemnation from opposition MPs.

SNP MP Anum Qaisar told MPs she tore up her planned speech, saying instead: “I was nine years old when I was asked if my dad was a terrorist the day after 9/11.







SNP MP Anum Qaisar said: “I’m not going to accept a debate where we’re told we have to take the politics out of it”
(
Parliament TV)

“It was only a couple of months after that when our mosque was burnt to the ground in a suspected Islamophobia attack.

“I’m not going to accept a debate where we’re told we have to take the politics out of it.

“Because the Prime Minister does peddle a rhetoric when he says dangerous things, like veiled Muslim women look like letterboxes.”

Lib Dem MP Wera Hobhouse added: “I have been a little bit disturbed by the initial aggression of some members of the Tory party to this debate.

“It behoves us to listen carefully to those who have the lived experience and not call it politics, but recognise it as a hurt that has been caused.”

Shadow minister Naz Shah said of the Tory government: “On the issue of Islamophobia, it is playing with people’s lives.”

SNP MP Kirsten Oswald accused Tory members of “eye-rolling”, adding: “I think the tone of some of the comments opposite was really regrettable today.

“I think that is not the way we should be conducting ourselves in here”.

MPs shared shocking experiences of Islamophobia, with Labour shadow minister Rosena Allin-Khan opening up about how she was attacked when she was 11.

She said she was “attacked by a racist gang, in the park, with dogs, as me and my brother ran away, having our clothes ripped from us. Scared.”







Rosena Allin-Khan opened up about how she was attacked when she was 11
(
Parliament TV)

The MP, whose father was Muslim and mother Polish, remembered incidents when she was as young as four when her mother was “spat at in the street and called ‘dirty’.”

She added: “A taxi driver once told me, 20 minutes into a journey, that he would never in his life allow a Muslim into his taxi-cab.

“He told me that Muslims were, ‘taking over the world’ and he had absolutely no desire to meet one, and that he would not allow his daughter to go study at university where someone wore a hijab.

“I told him to stop the car. I told him he had met a Muslim, but I would continue to walk.”

Ms Begum added: “My presence in parliament, the first MP to wear a hijab, makes many uncomfortable.

“From the regular mispronunciation of my name to being mistaken for other hijab-wearing women who work in parliament, or being asked even if i’m related to Shamima Begum.”

Ms Badenoch later admitted “things have been slow” but insisted: “We must not allow those who seek to divide our diverse and multi-faith society to succeed”.

She raised the murder of Tory MP David Amess, which police said had a potential link to Islamist extremism, adding: “His murder could have fanned the flames of fear and resentment.

“But instead of opening new fault lines between people, it was met with an outpouring of love and goodwill.”

She went on: “It’s been a very feisty debate and it’s quite clear that concerns about anti Muslim hatred transcend party lines.”

The minister said “the approach I will be taking is to take the heat and the politics out of the debate”, before then adding to cries of protest: “What I will not do is be intimidated and bullied”.

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