Muslim Labour MP says no solidarity from Keir Starmer after Islamophobic abuse
British MP Zarah Sultana has slammed Labour Party leader Keir Starmer for his handling of Islamophobia in an emotional interview.
Sultana who is Labour MP for Coventry South, was elected to parliament for the first time in 2019, aged just 26.
Reflecting on the barrage of anti-Muslim bigotry she and other Muslim MPs have been subjected to in recent years, Sultana told Novara Media earlier this week: “I find it quite hurtful that the leader of my party [Starmer] has found it difficult to express solidarity publicly with me and Apsana Begum. I think in any job you expect that as a bare minimum.”
“Since getting elected in 2019, I have received correspondence that’s hateful and racist, in the post, in my email inbox, and on social media. I found that it increases when I’m in parliament, going to protests around migrants’ rights, when I’m speaking out for Palestinian people, or when I’m supporting causes like Black Lives Matter” she continued.
Recounting her experience of racial hatred in a parliamentary debate on Islamophobia in September, a teary Sultana said she had been called “a terrorist sympathiser” and told “Europe will vomit you out”.
“I’ve had other members of the front bench get in touch. People like Nick Thomas Symonds, Louise Haigh, various others. But nothing both publicly and privately from Keir himself.”
While Labour has recently adopted a new code of conduct on Islamophobia, Sultana cautioned that “The Labour Party doesn’t take wellbeing as seriously as it should” adding that “the abuse you have to deal with continuously and the effect that it has on your mental health [is] worrying.”
“Let’s do something about it… I don’t want to be here in 10, 15 , 20 years in the same situation, still getting abuse, still being treated like s**t.”
Sultana’s emotional interview comes at a painful time for Muslims, as Islamophobia Awareness Month has brought to light the extent of anti-Muslim bigotry in British society and politics.
Days ago, a landmark report by the Centre for Media Monitoring that analysed thousands of online articles and 5,500 broadcast clips revealed almost 60% of online media articles and 47% of television clips associate Muslims and/or Islam with negative aspects or behaviour.