19 May 2016
Seemingly politically inspired and media-led Islamophobic allegations and accusations of anti-semitism marred the recent UK mayoral and local elections. This potentially sets a dangerous precedence for using religious allegations as political tools and must be checked. The implications are applicable to all secular democracies, not just UK.
Recent weeks have seen a Muslim, Sadiq Khan, elected as Mayor of London while rows about anti-semitism in his own party, Labour, have dominated much media coverage in the United Kingdom. In addition, his main rival, Zac Goldsmith, along with other leading Tory voices, including Prime Minister David Cameron, sought to associate Khan with terrorism in the name of Islam including links to ISIS.
After Goldsmith’s loss many leading Tories have sought to distance themselves from the “dirty tricks” campaign, while Cameron publicly apologised to an imam he accused of being an ISIS supporter. Commentary suggests a Muslim candidate was targeted, if not smeared, as a potential terrorist sympathiser as a political ploy; notwithstanding Khan’s career and track record as a human rights lawyer and anti-extremist.
… Paul Hedges is Associate Professor in Interreligious Studies for the Studies in Inter-Religious Relations in Plural Societies Programme, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University. He maintains a blog on Interreligious Studies and related issues at: www.logosdao.wordpress.com.
SRP / Online
Last updated on 19/05/2016