Forde report confirms the obvious as new survey lays bare more Islamophobia

palestine ukraine islamophobia
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The fallout from the Forde Report is still rumbling on, but there aren’t many outlets that have bothered to cover its findings. Indeed, sociologist Tom Mills put together some figures on how little traction the report has gained in the mainstream media:

Middle East Eye said of the conclusions of the report:

Damning report says antisemitism was treated as a ‘factional weapon’ by both supporters and opponents of Jeremy Corbyn in senior party positions.

Read on...

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However, the Labour Muslim Network also found that the report points to “institutional Islamophobia within the Labour party”.

All of this comes just as a new survey from advocacy organisation CAGE looks at yet another facet of Islamophobia. We’ll get to that in a moment, but first it’s worth looking to the people of colour who’ve had to take the lead, once again, on calling out Islamophobia.

Kick in the teeth

Labour MP Kate Osamor said:

MP Nadia Whittome also called for the Labour leadership to respond:

Journalist Rachel Shabi said:

Media Diversified‘s Samantha Asumadu organised a Twitter space to discuss the findings of the Forde report, and called for more people to listen:

The Canary’s own Afroze Zaidi was a speaker at this event, and shared her thoughts:

Clearly, there is a strong feeling that Labour has not addressed its Islamophobia and racism problems in any meaningful way.

Solidarity

Islamophobia is rampant and rife throughout Britain, not just in the Labour party. A new survey from CAGE shows just how bad things have become. The survey recieved 532 responses from parents, students, and teachers. They asked how involved schools were with support for people in Ukraine.

The survey found that:

  • 96% of respondents confirmed “proactive engagement” on the Ukraine issue, such as donation appeals or mentions in newsletters.
  • 62% of respondents said schools had fundraised or hosted donation drives for Ukraine.
  • 17% of respondents said that children were encouraged to wear the colours of the Ukraine flag to school, or to have the flag on school property.

Shockingly, CAGE found that in some cases “schools were also raising funds for military gear”.

In its analysis, CAGE stated:

The figures lie in stark comparison to the treatment of Palestine last year, where our cases – as well as those of other advocacy organisations and countless anecdotes – indicated that pupils (and staff) were treated punitively for attempting to express solidarity.

Last year, textbooks on Palestine and Israel were pulled from schools by the government. In February of this year, the Department for Education (DfE) told schools to present a “balanced” view of what it called the Israel-Palestine “conflict.” There have been multiple instances where children have been punished for wearing Palestinian flags or excluded for showing support for Palestine, with teachers also enforcing objections to mentions of Palestine.

As Al-Araby reported, the DfE also said this about Black Lives Matter (BLM):

It says those teaching about particular activist groups such as certain organisations linked with the “Black Lives Matter movement… should be aware that this may cover partisan political views” – those which are outside the “basic shared principle that racism is unacceptable”.

What’s the pattern here, then?

Racism

There’s a reason that support for Ukraine is seen as politically neutral. It’s because white people’s bodies are seen as neutral. Palestine and BLM are singled out because Black and brown bodies are always seen as political, no matter how people behave or what their political views are.

The head of research at CAGE, Azfar Shafi, said:

Despite the sharp differences, the research uncovered some notable convergences in the way that the government approached the questions of Palestine and Ukraine in school. Whether under the banner of countering ‘extremism’, preventing ‘antisemitism’ or tackling ‘disinformation’, there has been a concerted effort to stage-manage the terms of political discussion in school, including through the use of security thinktanks, to firmly align with British foreign policy interests.

The response to the Forde report from mainstream media – or rather, the lack of a response – shows that neither institutions like the Labour party nor politics at large are interested in meaningfully tacking anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, or anti-Blackness. CAGE’s report is invaluable in showing that children are used as political tools. If it’s okay for children to support Ukraine, why isn’t it okay for children to support Palestine or BLM?

Children are being weaponised in this culture war, which is being waged across the political spectrum. With all of this, whether it’s the lack of response to the Forde report, or how children in schools are treated, one thing is clear – this is white supremacy in action.

Featured image via Unsplash/Latrach Med Jamil and Unsplash/Nati Melnychuk

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  • Show Comments
    1. Anti-black racism and islamophobia are normal and acceptable in Labour. Combined with a clear hierarchy of racism. Astonishing that the Tories are more diverse and with more competent people of colour than Labour (even if we may disagree with their policies). The only difference with war criminal Tony Blair’s time

      1. “Madge” did not mention “the” antisemitism because out of all forms of racism antisemitism is the ONLY one which Labour leadership seem to be interested in. This very clearly implies that other forms of racism are of less importance. It is blatantly obvious that all forms of racism must be treated with equal seriousness. Do black. Muslim or any other minority have less rights than Jews? Yet this is what Labour leadership appear to believe. If there is not this discriminatory attitude to racism why has Starmer blandly ignored the abusive anti black comments on tape in the leaked report. Why has not ONE word of condemnation been uttered by him of the vile abuse suffered by Diane Abbot. If Diane were a Jew Starmer would be outraged by her treatment but she is only black so he does nothing.
        If you think I overstate this opinion why do you not get online and check out how often Starmer has sacked Labour members ( many of them Jews) for what he chooses to interpret as “antisemitism” and how often he has sacked anyone for ANY other racist remark or behavior. The recently released Forde Report confirms this!
        If this does not answer your question I suggest you do some actual research and cease to show such willingness to automatically believe what the central Parliamentary Labour Party choose to tell us.
        Jewish Voice For Labour has much information on antisemitism and other prejudices!

      1. Well done! You can quote a remark by a Guardian columnist. But I have to point out this is only Cohens own opinion. What reasoning or evidence do you offer for your belief in his statement? Also who are “the white far left and the Islamist right” Seems an unlikely combination but your faith in Mr Cohen is, no doubt. unshakable.

    2. I cannot resist pointing out some “white” left wingers. Dianne Abbot, Claudia Winkleman. Marc Wadsworth, Dawn Butler, Zara Sultana. These are probably just a few “left wingers” who are not white but it is still a quaint assumption from Cohen to equate “left wing” with being exclusively white.

      1. Stunning originality! keep quoting every known source in UK media. Quote, “Israel is an apartheid state” unquote, Amnesty international. “There is no doubt that “antisemitism was used to attack my leadership” jeremy Corbyn.
        “Keir Starmer expels more Jews from the Labour Party for “antisemitism” than non Jews” Mike Cushman (a Jew) I could go on quoting other sources indefinitely can you not understand this proves NOTHING.

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