Labour politicians urged Muslims to back their party in the run up to the general election by telling them “the Tories are whipping up hate and Islamophobia like UKIP”, and “other minorities have a greater say in the country than we do”.
British Muslim were told Jeremy Corbyn’s party would further Islamic interests via text message by two Labour councillors in Walsall in the West Midlands. Highlighting Corbyn’s support of Palestine, the messages urged people to use their ballot, arguing: “How are you going to change the system if you don’t play by the system?”
“Aoa [in the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful] to all Muslim brother and sisters, this is a request to please all vote this Thursday and vote for Labour”, the memo opened.
According to the messages, obtained by Guido Fawks, the councillors wrote: “PASS ON TO ALL OF YOUR CONTACTS! Labour with Jeremy Corbyn is the only choice we have in this election.
“He has opposed wars in the Middle East, had lobbied for the Palestinians and even vowed to recognise Palestine immediately after he is elected.
“Who else has promised us this? For those of you who do not believe in voting, how are you going to change the system if you don’t play by the system.
“Other minorities have a greater say in the country than we do even though we are one of the biggest minorities in the UK.”
The text also said that the Conservatives and UKIP would “bring in policies that will negatively impact on young Muslims particularly.
“We will need to come together to vote May out. Her policies will mercilessly target our communities, our places of worship and all areas of our lives.
“Every vote for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party will help stop the Islamophobic policies of Ukip and the Conservatives.”
Despite the messages, Walsall North swung from Labour to the Tories in the election, with veteran Labour MP David Winnick losing out to Conservative Eddie Hughes. Labour held Walsall South.
The message was sent out in the name of Councilors Aftab Nawaz and Khizar Hussain, two Labour party members of Walsall Council.
Mr. Hussain did not respond to requests for comment but Mr. Nawaz told The Daily Telegraph the messages “may have been” sent out in his name. He insisted, however, he had not sent it himself.
“Somebody may have sent it and put my name at the bottom of it – it is not something that I have had anything to do with. I have not seen that”, he claimed.
Mr. Nawaz also stressed his background was “promoting inter-community harmony, working with the multi-faith forum” and said he had attended “a lot of Holocaust memorial events”.
He added: “I would be very much disgusted if anyone was talking about anti-Semitism. I have not seen the message myself but if it is talking about minorities I would be surprised if it was Jewish minorities.”