Broadcast media quiet despite new poll confirming rampant Islamophobia in the Tory Party

Regent's Park Mosque and logos of Conservative Party, BBC and Sky News
Joshua Funnell

New polling conducted by YouGov on behalf of anti-racism group HOPE not hate exposes the true scale of Islamophobia in the Conservative Party. This comes despite repeated denials about the problem by senior Conservative politicians.

But the broadcast media’s silence on the story again raises questions about double standards when covering different forms of racism. And it shows the different energy that seems to be given to racism stories involving Labour compared to the Conservatives.

The shocking data

The poll was taken online and included a sample of 864 adult members of the Conservative Party who were surveyed between 14 and 18 June.

Considering these people will now pick the country’s next prime minister, the views documented are shocking.

HOPE not hate reports that:

Just 8% of members agreed that “I would be proud of Britain if we were to elect a Muslim as our Prime Minister”, while 43% agreed that “I would prefer to not have the country led by a Muslim


39% of members believe that “Islamist terrorists reflect a widespread hostility to Britain amongst the Muslim community”

And on immigration, the report said:

Conservative members are much more opposed to immigration from people from a Muslim background than from those of other faiths: just 3% say that immigration policy should be geared to higher Muslim immigration, compared to 12% for people fleeing war, 16% for Jewish people and 25% for Christians. While any legal immigrant should expect the same welcome, the fact that members view immigrants different according to their faith suggests an underlying prejudice

Conservative members believe “the lie” about Islam in the UK

HOPE not hate also address myths and lies that many Conservative members believe.

For example, 67% believe there are areas of Britain that operate under Sharia Law. And only 18% believed this isn’t the case. Similarly, 45% believe that “there are areas in Britain in which non-Muslims are not able to enter”

It’s notable that such ‘no-go area’ ideas are the same as those pushed by the racist far right.

No problem to solve, apparently…

Yet the same polling shows Conservative members don’t think there is a problem with Islamophobia.

Only 8% of members think there is a problem of racism or Islamophobia towards Muslims. 79% think there is no problem at all.

Further to this:

Only 15% of members think the Conservative Party should be doing more to combat any Islamophobia or other racism within the party, compared to 76% of members who think the party is “already doing all it reasonably can to combat Islamophobia and other racism within the party”.

In a tweet, HOPE not hate was defiant about its findings:

It also highlighted that the Conservative Party seemed unconcerned by the story:

The group also made the following demands of the Conservative Party leadership to solve the problem:

Media silence

Despite these shocking findings, there’s silence on the story from the establishment broadcast media.

At the time of writing, The Canary’s online search of the BBC, Sky, ITV and Channel 4 News websites showed none had reported the story.

The simple question arises: why not?

According to Adam Bienkov, political editor of Business Insider, a Labour Party source said they were less than happy:

What if it was Labour?

Considering the comparably relentless media focus on Labour’s problems with antisemitism, it’s unsurprising many are questioning the different treatment of the two issues:

Writer Jamie Stern Weiner wondered what would be demanded if the two issues were dealt with equally:

Conservatives can’t deny the problem any longer, but the media are helping them to

As HOPE not hate documents, there was already a catalogue of evidence showing widespread Islamophobia in the Conservative Party. The new polling only confirms the scale of a problem highlighted by people like former Conservative minister and Muslim, Sayeeda Warsi.

But if the media doesn’t report it, or give it similar prominence to comparable stories involving Labour, it’s harder for political pressure to solve the problem. It also unfairly protects the Conservative Party’s reputation and keeps Labour exclusively in the crosshairs of an internal party racism scandal.

The story suggests yet again that, for much of the media, racism in some places matters more than in others.

Featured image via YouTube – YESSMVN production / YouTube – Conservatives / YouTube – TP Percival / YouTube – Sky News

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