SHAFAQNA – British Muslim activists and politicians have lamented of late that Britain institutions have remained largely closed up to minorities, thus perpetuating a narrative of exclusion based on ethnicity and religion. Mahmood Hassan, a rights activist from London told Shafaqna in an exclusive interview that Britain Establishment had worked to keep Muslims and other ethnic minorities out of politics to better serve its “white agenda”. He said, “This is neo-imperial Britain and minorities have been relegated to the darkest corners of the political room. Let’s call things by thier name and not fool ourselves into believing that we live in a fair society. Fairness woudl entail that all minorities are fairly represented in the UK …. and they are not. Sadiq Khan, the Shadow Secretary for Justice, recently made similar remarks to the press when he lamented the lack of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) MPs in parliament as a disgrace and admitted that the steady decline in support for Labour among ethnic minority voters is due to the fact that BAME voters have been ignored.
A brief glance at the composition of the 650 MPs in parliament would incline anyone to agree; there are only 27 members from BAME backgrounds. Although the general election in May is likely to see an increase in these figures, any improvement will be a far cry from the 91 BAME MPs needed for parliament to accurately represent the ethnic make-up of the British public.
In particular, lack of representation of the Muslim community in parliament is reflected in the attitude to voting held by a large proportion of British Muslims. Research conducted by Ipsos MORI found that only 47 per cent of Muslims voted in the last general election. Twenty nine per cent of those Muslims who did not vote cited “disinterest” and the feeling that there is “no point” as their main reasons for not voting.
Hassan believes that feelgins of disenfranchisement and ostracization have led young Muslims to fall into the trap of radicalism. “Our youth is looking to belong … young people are looking for role models and powerful figures to inspire them. And since we have provided none they went outside society to find them.”
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