Muslim Labour MP Apsana Begum signed off sick after 'misogynistic abuse and harassment'
Apsana Begum, MP for the Poplar and Limehouse constituency in east London, said she was signed off sick by her doctor earlier this month because the abuse she had received had a "significant effect" on her mental and physical health.
"It is hard to have to take time off from my work representing the constituency in which I grew up and live," Begum said in a statement released Wednesday.
Begum said the abuse had been "particularly painful and difficult… as a survivor of domestic abuse".
She did not specify who had been targeting her.
Begum – Britain's first hijab-wearing MP – was elected to parliament in 2019. She is a fierce critic of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, and is staunchly pro-Palestine.
A statement: pic.twitter.com/kcCRqpShBo— Apsana Begum MP (@ApsanaBegumMP) June 22, 2022
She said her experience of abuse and harassment was far from exceptional.
"The treatment I have faced will be all too familiar to women, socialists and those from minority ethnic backgrounds… if the Labour party is to be the party of equality, it must do all it can to ensure that such behaviour is never tolerated," she said.
The MP thanked those who had shown her solidarity, promising:" I will see you all once I am better”.
Begum has previously warned that Islamophobia is on the rise in Britain, and shared her personal experiences during a debate for Islamophobia Awareness Month last November.
"Every single day people from Muslim backgrounds like me face discrimination and prejudice… I myself am never allowed to forget that my presence in parliament… makes many uncomfortable," Begum said at the time.
Other Muslim MPs have said that have suffered harassment and discrimination due to their religious background.
Nusrat Ghani, who was sacked as a transport minister in 2020, said that her "Muslimness" had been "raised as an issue" by a government whip.