Our mysterious satirist Raf turns his lens on the Labour party’s and Sir Keir Starmer’s sudden affection for Conservative MP Nusrat Ghani
When Zora Neale Houston coined the term “All my skinfolk ain’t kinfolk” she was definitely onto something. Especially if said non-kinfolk-skinfolk have built a career being the dependable Muslim. The one you go to when something is too Islamophobic for a non-Muslim to say. ‘They’ get you to say it and you willingly do so. Someone so integrated in the racism factory that Michael Fabricant thinks you’re “hardly someone who is obviously Muslim.”
What does it mean to British Muslim communities when a visible Muslim who has built a career on ignoring issues which matter to Muslims and downright making material conditions harder for other Muslims, claims they have been discriminated against on account of their Muslimness?
What if I was to tell you this person who sat on a panel with the likes of Trevor Phillips himself no stranger to allegations of Islamophobia discussing whether Islamophobia was a term to shutdown debate of Islam and Muslims. Should I then cry Nusrat Ghani MP a river even when I know during the height of election cycle in 2019, she spent her time minimising claims of Islamophobia within the Conservative party saying there were robust procedures in place within the party to deal with such anti-Muslim prejudice?
Would it surprise you to learn that mere months later in March 2020 she claims to have lost her cabinet position because her Muslimness made people uncomfortable and after speaking to the PM in june 2020 about the issue was advised to make a complaint she decided not to. What then does this say about complaint measures in place within the Conservative party to deal with allegations of Islamophobia that she herself was championing mere months earlier? Further Singh report into Islamophobia within Conservative was widely seen as a whitewash pun intended. So then let me ask, is Islamophobia only Islamophobia when it finally happens to you personally because you were denied a role in the cabinet to do what you do best in being the skinfolk who is happy to do Islamophobia in service to the party if it benefited you personally?
Will Nusrat Ghani MP to borrow canon from another Abrahamic faith have a Damascene moment and renounce her former views on Islamophobia become a tireless campaigner against the continued securitisation of British Muslims urge the Home Secretary and fellow Desi to halt Nationality & Borders bill because upwards of 50% of her skinfolk could become second class citizens in their own country? Answer is probably not.
Nusrat Ghani allegations of Islamophobia have gained national prominence through media reporting, but will there be any analysis on the institutional Islamophobia that British Muslims face who are not MPs in Conservative Party? Because lets be honest Nusrat Ghani isn’t the first Muslim to raise the issue of Islamophobia within the Conservative party. Baroness Warsi has been reading the Conservative Party to filth on Islamophobia for at least the past five years with little to no impact outside of one news cycle.
Or maybe that’s the point Nusrat Ghani is the perfect victim who won’t denounce her previous damascene conversion stances but instead appeal to middle class sensibilities of well I did everything to assimilate and it still wasn’t enough I’ve been consistent in the view that we must fight to stop Shamima Begum’s British passport revoked and for her to face court in the country of her birth. Just purely on self-preservation this should have been the line how safe can any minority community in the UK feel in the midst of hostile environment, Windrush and now Nationality and Borders and policing bills. Which then comes to why has Nusrat Ghani become the poster child for Islamophobia within the Conservative party for the media?
Why is Islamophobia having a moment now when it’s rarely been covered before and if it was reported on, it was the victim who was seen as the problem and not the racism they were facing? The Media writ large sensing blood in the water in for Boris Johnson, have leapt on this story but let me be clear this is not about tackling Islamophobia in any meaningful sense. Instead it is an attempt to heap pressure on a struggling Prime Minister who has in the past wrote that veiled Muslim women reminded him of letterboxes.
It’s because Nusrat Ghani is establishment as they come, she is pro neo con foreign policy she is Muslim, but not Muslim enough to rock the boat type of Muslim she wields her Muslimness to chastise other Muslims when they speak up. This goes to the heart of liberal sensibilities in the UK; she’s fully assimilated. She should be afforded some protection from Islamophobia otherwise it’s just not cricket. That’s why Sir Keir Starmer and his shadow cabinet were so quick to jump to the defence of Nusrat Ghani even though Zarah Sultana his own Labour MP has said she has been subjected to vile Islamophobic bigotry yet hasn’t heard from her boss Keir Starmer since 2019.
Nor does Starmer have much to say on Apsana Begum, who has been subjected to one of the most shameless campaigns of bullying and Islamophobia from certain sections of Tower Hamlets Labour council. Because Sultana and Begum are the wrong type of Muslims unlike Nusrat Ghani who should be defended. Labour point scoring on the weekend over allegations of Conservative Party has been especially sickening, especially as the Forde report which is investigating serious allegations of Islamophobia within the party has been delayed again.
Labour Muslim Network produced its own report on Muslim views and experiences within the Labour Party which has been widely ignored. So much so, Chris Bryant MP went on TV and professed not to have even read the report. Zakat starts at home but I feel very little charity for Ghani who was in the house but still a victim of the same Islamophobia everyone not in the house is subjected to. Instead, I’m choosing to focus on systemic and establishment Islamophobia starting by asking questions. Like why does Phil Collins after writing about how Tory Islamophobia is not to the same magnitude as Labour’s antisemitism issue is hired as speech writer for Keir Starmer?
How can another commentator in the lead up to 2019 general election talk about the Muslim problem and not have universal condemnation heaped upon them by his peers? Why are there so many Tory councillors who have made Islamophobic statements after an investigation quietly let back in the party? Why are so many MPs and people in the House Of Lords so comfortable being associated with the likes of Henry Jackson and Gatestone? Why didn’t Boris Johnson’s decades long documented instances of racism and specifically Islamophobia disqualify him from the highest office in the land in the eyes of our mainstream media? Why are we still persevering with Prevent strategy and anyone who raises valid objections smeared as an Islamist? Finally, why are there so few Muslims within major media networks and those few that seem to tow the establishment line or actively build a platform attacking their fellow co-religionists?
Yes, so not all skinfolk are your kinfolk but when you’ve acted as an agent for the state making your own skinfolk’s lives harder and by extension yours too, sooner or later the state will let you know that you are not their kinfolk and there’s a certain schadenfreude for me in this lesson. See also Shaun Bailey being thrown under the Boris Johnson bendy bus over the driest party ever in Christendom.
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