Conservatives Suspend Candidate Who Said Islam Is ‘Totalitarian’

Muslim demonstrators hold banners at the Danish Embassy on February 3, 2006 in London

The Conservatives have suspended a candidate in London for ‘Islamophobic’ tweets after it emerged she had said that religion “undermines hard fought for values” like free speech in Britain.

Karen Sunderland, who was standing as the party’s candidate for Crofton Park in Lewisham, was also found to have criticised the hijab and compared Islam to Nazism in messages posted from her Twitter account, which has since been made private.

Lewisham Labour mayoral candidate Damien Egan, who had called for her removal over what he described as “appalling remarks”, said he welcomed her suspension — declaring the “diversity and openness” of the London region to be its “greatest strength”.

“Islamophobic comments like this are deeply divisive and they have no place in our community,” he added.

The Conservatives confirmed that Ms. Sunderland had been suspended from the party pending an investigation over three tweets made between October and December last year.

In one of the offending messages posted to Twitter, where she describes herself as an “unflinching Brexiteer”, the London candidate wrote: “Love your optimism. The thing is, religion undermines the hard fought for values and tolerances of progressed countries…suppresses free speech and is auto immune from criticism.

“This is toxic and where the hostility comes from. Religion is totalitarian. Islam has become the new Nazism,” she said.

Another tweet, apparently sent in response to a news story posted by the radio station LBC, read: “Well how else do you expect to deal with this!? Parents will simply bang on about Islam and their rights blah blah blah. It confuses me so much why people with these views live in the West.”

A post from October, which “seemed to ridicule wearing the hijab”, according to News Shopper, said: “Such a lame attempt you made to justify hijabs. Self indulgent to think anyone would give a toot that you showed your hair.”

While Ms. Sunderland was suspended from the Conservative Party on Sunday night she will remain on the ballot for Thursday’s election, reports the BBC, citing a spokesman for Lewisham Council who noted that the controversy took place three weeks after the deadline for withdrawal.


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