This article advocates the best possible option for Muslims when voting in the General Election, which the author claims to be the Liberal Democrats, for reasons of fairness. “I believe the Liberal Democrats are the only party that will truly make Britain fair, not just for Muslims, but for everyone in Britain today.” The author Farid Ahmed is a Muslim and a Liberal candidate himself for Walthamstow, London.
The author further summarizes how Labour has failed in the past 13 years to make Britain more just, and how the Conservatives are not to be trusted to move the country in any such direction. Also Britain’s policies towards the Middle East play a large role in the author’s preference for the Liberal Democrat Party.
Hugely excited about Britain’s first televised party leaders’ debates, the British media have paid limited attention to the vicious electoral battle being fought in the East London borough of Barking and Dagenham.
Yet the outcome of the general and local elections there on May 6 could have troubling consequences, not least for Britain’s 2.4 million Muslims. For it is in Barking and Dagenham that the leader of the far right British National Party, Nick Griffin, has a fighting chance of winning what has long been a safe seat for Britain’s governing Labour Party.
In Dagenham, as throughout Britain, the whole issue of immigration has never been more emotive. But it is Muslims, portrayed as the “enemy within” bent on Islamizing Britain, who are the chief target of the BNP. From the Muslim perspective, the desirability of voting for the Labour Party to keep the far right out seems clear. Yet such is Muslim disaffection, especially over British foreign policy in Iraq and Afghanistan, that many Muslims appear disinclined to vote at all. Alarmed by the possibility of a triumphant BNP, prominent Muslims are backing a campaign in Dagenham, “Hope, Not Hate”, aimed at mobilizing the Muslim vote. Jewish businessmen, mindful of the threat posed to the Jews of East London by the fascist black shirts led by Oswald Mosley in the 1930s, are backing it, too, for the BNP’s historic anti-Semitism is manifesting itself anew in the area, with Margaret Hodge, who is of Egyptian Jewish parentage, being vilified on grounds of both her race and wealth.