Dear Sir Keir Starmer MP,
Whilst we are thankful for your reply to our letter, we remain nonetheless disappointed.
You said you do not ‘’take our votes for granted’’ and you say that you’ll ‘’ensure that the interests of the community are respected and visible.’’ Yet you have failed to go beyond rhetoric in your reply to the two policy areas we identified as essential in determining our continued support.
On Islamophobia – whilst we are pleased you are working with the Labour Muslim Network; you fail to mention any policies to address Islamophobia. There was no indication in your response on the causes, propagation and sustaining of Islamophobia. In the absence of your appreciation of causes of Islamophobia, there is a failure to develop policies.
On Palestine, our request was for clarification on the recognition of Palestine as a state, a sanction on arms sales and support for BDS. You have failed to mention your position on all of these.
It is true that the position of the Labour Party has not changed, and remains that of supporting a two-state solution. However, we feel it disingenuous to hold such a position; without committing to actions such as those we requested in our letter. Indeed, the Labour Party has held that position for decades. Yet, without meaningful pressure on Israel; each passing day sees increased Israeli settlement building and forced displacement of the Palestinians.
Our community is politically mature enough to no longer be satisfied with rhetoric, platitudes and meaningless statements. This was why we wrote to you to see if you would support the types of practical, meaningful, tangible and above all concrete steps, that are needed.
We agree with you that Kim Leadbetter is a well-liked and respected candidate; but without support from the leadership on these practical steps on Islamophobia, Palestine and engagement, she will be set up to disappoint her constituents if she is elected.
We wished for a direct and unequivocal response to our request, but we remain disappointed and this shows the Labour leadership does not take our concerns seriously, and has taken our support for granted.
Furthermore, we are extremely worried that Labour Party strategists are briefing the Daily Mail as follows:
‘We’re haemorrhaging votes among Muslim voters,’ one senior Labour official tells me, ‘and the reason for that is what Keir has been doing on antisemitism. Nobody really wants to talk about it, but that’s the main factor. He challenged Corbyn on it, and there’s been a backlash among certain sections of the community.’
DAN HODGES: Who’s spreading the poison that could put the final nail in Keir Starmer’s coffin? | Daily Mail Online (Published:22:09, 19 June 2021 and Updated: 09:49, 20 June 2021)
So it appears the Labour Party under your leadership, is insinuating that the Muslim constituents of Batley are motivated primarily by ‘anti-Semitism’; rather than the reality that our concerns are predominantly based on or around the issues of human rights, UK law, and international law. This senior Labour source who has briefed Dan Hodges is spreading a disgusting Islamophobic trope. You need to identify this/these individual/s, and make a point that you will not tolerate such Islamophobic behaviour.Alternatively, we appreciate the agenda-driven nature of the Daily Mail, and that they could well be hiding behind what they term as ‘anonymous sources’. They are known to do this frequently; without challenge from mainstream political leaders, who on the one hand talk about fake news, but then kowtow to the tabloid press. Anyhow, if that is indeed the case, and no ‘Labour Party Strategist’ has briefed them accordingly; then we will await your office publicly challenging the Daily Mail on this matter.
* Ansaar Organisation
* Madressa Mahmoodia
* Batley & Dewsbury Friends of Al Aqsa
* Hilal Islamic Centre & Masjid / Bosnian Cultural Centre
* Al Hashim Academy