Conservatives conspired to 'use my Muslim faith against me', says former UK member of European Parliament

Conservatives conspired to 'use my Muslim faith against me', says former UK member of European Parliament
Sajjad Karim, a former Conservative Member of the European Parliament, has claimed that Tory MPs plotted to use his Muslim faith against him politically and accused the UK's governing party of failing to take Islamophobia seriously.
2 min read
07 February, 2022
Sajjad Karim has called on the British Conservative Party to fully investigate his claims of Islamophobia [source: Getty]

UK Conservative politicians conspired to "use my Muslim faith against me", a former British Tory Member of the European Parliament (MEP) has claimed. 

Sajjad Karim, who served as an MEP for 15 years, told The Independent that in 2013 he overheard two Conservative MPs - one of whom is now a minister in Boris Johnson's government - of allegedly engaging in an Islamophobic conversation about him. 

The 51-year-old accused the UK’s governing party of failing to properly investigate his claims, which were first aired publicly over two years ago. 

"I think it's demonstrative of a lack of real, genuine seriousness in the [Conservative] party to actually treat Islamophobia as a serious issue," said Karim. 

"It's seen more as a nuisance that in some way has got to be dealt with."

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Karim told the British newspaper that he was contacted by the chairman's office and invited to make a complaint after he went public with the allegations in September 2019. However, he was never called for questioning as part of the Tories' investigation into discrimination complaints carried out by Professor Swaran Singh. 

This inquiry, published in May 2021, concluded there was no evidence of institutionalised Islamophobia in the Conservative Party. 

Karim's accusations follow controversial claims by Tory MP Nusrat Ghani who alleged last month that her faith was raised by a government whip as a reason why she was sacked as a minister in 2020. 

"I don’t know Nus Ghani’s case, or situation…all I know is in my case the discussion was about how my religious and cultural background could be engineered politically and used against me," said Karim. 

A Conservative Party spokesperson told the Independent that it was "committed to holding an investigation during the 2019 leadership race following accusations of discrimination within the party".

They did not confirm whether an investigation in Karim's allegations was taking place and instead referred to the findings of the Singh inquiry. 

Although the Singh report found no evidence that the Tory Party had "systemically failed any particular community", it did acknowledge there were several examples of "anti-Muslim discrimination by individuals and groups". 

The inquiry has since been criticised by the Muslim Council of Britain, who originally wrote to the Conservative Party Chair requesting a probe, for failing to "address the structural nature of Islamophobia in the Party".