George Galloway criticizes veil ban in Westminster

9 December 2102

 

Renowned British lawmaker George Galloway has attacked new restrictions imposed on the wearing of the Muslim face-veil (Niqab) at the meeting place of the two houses of parliament, describing the move as an infringement on Muslim rights:

 

“Everyone understands the need to have proper security, but these rules seem a little heavy handed and confusing to me.”

 

British authorities have imposed new restrictions on the wearing of the Muslim veil at the Palace of Westminster. Under the new rules, niqab-wearing Muslims will be required to remove their face-veil.

 

There is amounting pressure from the public to outlaw the veil in public spaces. In September 2010, the Burnley College in Lancashire banned the Muslim face-veil on campus. A recent YouGov survey found that some 67 percent of Britons favor face-veils to be made illegal.

 

Firther, lawmaker Philip Hollobone has already tabled a bill in the parliament calling for Britain to follow France and outlaw the wearing of the face-veil in public.

UK Parties are trying to gain Muslim vote

23 July 2012

After the George Galloway’ historic victory of in Bradford by-elections British political parties have realized the significance of the Muslim vote and have been trying to gain support of Muslims. IN this regard, following Labor Leader Ed Miliband, Conservative Party Chair Baroness Warsi has visited the city to meet Muslim women.

Local Muslim Women’s Council members who were the organizers of the event challenged influential Muslim politician Baroness Warsi about immigration policy, education, the impact of cutbacks and austerity and the role Government has played in fuelling Islamophobia.

The historic defeat that Labour Party suffered in the Bradford by-election forces them to understand the changing dynamics of the Muslim society

11 June 2012

Britain is still appalled with George Galloway’s unexpected victory over the Labour party in the Bradford by-election. The Labour party’s reliance on the biraderi system according to which gaining support of the tribal leaders would secure the support of the rest of the community cost a humiliating defeat in the by-election. Further, the by-election has also shown that the old system is outdated and elders alliances no longer binding for the youth and women.

In her article, Irna Qureshi reflects upon Labour leader Ed Miliband’s visit to Bradford in a quest to understand what went wrong in the by-elections and re-establish relations with the different sectors of the Muslim community instead of only interacting with the elders. She also points out how the dynamics of the Muslim community have changed and women are becoming increasingly active in the decision making process.

George Galloway Wins Bradford

March 2012

 

Bradford, which is host to a large Asian community, has been a Labour Party stronghold for 100 years. However, in the Bradford West by-election George Galloway, the outspoken British politician, gained a landslide victory against Labour’s Pakistani Muslim candidate Imran Hussain, thanks to the unwavering support of the Asian Muslim community.

 

The results were received as a blow to labour leader Ed Miliband who had been expected to capitalize on the double dip resection that hit hard on the UK economy. The results were also bad news for Tories as their vote went significantly down. Thus, it was considered to be a sign of dissatisfaction with the mainstream parties and, by some Islamphobic media, considered a source concern since they understood it as ‘Islamic extremism’ inauguration in British politics.

 

Galloway built his election strategy upon two issues: Occupation of Afghanistan, Palestine and the austerity policies, and called his victory a “Bradford Spring,” thus making a comparison to the popular uprisings taking place in Arab countries. He might seem to be going too far by comparing a Liberal democratic Britain to the oppressive dictatorial regimes of the Middle East, yet there might be some similarities between the two. Increasing unemployment, cost of living and discrimination have indeed frustrated the large working class Asian community of Bradford, especially the youth who have had to face uncertainty and alienation.

 

The following articles show how the British public and political parties who were appalled by the results try to understand what was behind the support of Galloway by the Muslim Asian community.

George Galloway’s election victory in Bradford continues to draw attention to the participation of Muslims in the British political system

14 May 2012

 

Bradford accommodates the third highest percentage of South Asians in the UK. So-called ‘Muslim votes’ make up 45% of the constituency’s population, and thus these votes are crucial for any political party that wants to score a victory in the elections.

 

Political experts were taken by surprise when George Galloway scored an undisputed victory in the elections for the vacant parliamentary seat of Bradford West in March, 2012. Galloway has always had close relations with the Muslim community but performed poorly in his own constituency and lost his seat in Bromley in 2010.

 

His recent victory has been considered an indication of Muslims’ dissatisfaction in the current performance of the mainstream political parties. This of course has some ground, since unemployment rates in parts of Bradford are almost four times higher than the national average and the number of pupils who progress to higher education are amongst the lowest in the country.

Labour ‘failed to connect with Asians in Bradford’

George Galloway has proved that he has the charisma, the celebrity and the message to appeal to the young, the disillusioned and the angry particularly in the Muslim community.

His victory is the first time an independent or smaller party candidate has won a parliamentary by-election from another party in Britain since March 1973, when Dick Taverne won the Lincoln by-election (taking it from Labour).

It is also the first time since the May 2000 Romsey by-election (when the Conservatives lost to the Lib Dems) that the main Opposition party has lost a seat in a by-election.

George Galloway’s victory in Bradford West was partly due to Labour’s failure to connect with the Asian community, the shadow home secretary has said. Yvette Cooper said her party had not won over young Asians or Muslim women.

Respect Party MP Mr Galloway, expelled by Labour in 2003, held a rally before 2,000 people on Sunday after winning Thursday’s by-election by 10,140 votes.

He said he had the support of people of all backgrounds in a “democratic uprising” against established parties.

Some speculate that these results show, by-elections are usually flashes in the pan that have no lasting effect on politics. After all, the SDP is no more, and the Lib Dems may have more than six seats today, but half a century on, having just lost their deposit in Bradford, they look no nearer to that elusive return to single party Government than they did before Orpington By-elections are a chance for angry voters to let off steam and vent their spleen on establishment parties, knowing their votes will not actually change a Government.
In taking Bradford West, Mr Galloway overturned a Labour majority of more than 5,000 at the 2010 general election.  He was previously MP for Bethnal Green and Bow in east London.

Commentators have suggested Mr Galloway attracted many Asian voters because of his opposition to the war in Iraq and his call for troops to withdraw from Afghanistan immediately.

But the Respect MP has rejected that, pointing out that Labour’s candidate was, in fact, a Muslim of Pakistani origin.

He told Sunday’s rally in Bradford that his 85% share of the vote in the city’s diverse university ward showed he had support of people of all races and religions.

Muslim MPs to more than double

At least 80 Muslim candidates of various political persuasions are involved in a spectrum of intriguing contests for parliamentary seats around the country. The chances are that up to 15 could be elected, although more realistically it is likely to double up from four in 2005.

The outcome in the elections, which are going to be the closest for decades and includes so many uncertain factors, is likely to see both the first Muslim women MPs that could help more than double Labour numbers and the first Muslim Tory members in the House of Commons. In the frame with outside chances are also a couple of Liberal Democrats and different Respect candidates among many others who are in un-winnable seats.

Labour has no less than seven Muslims, including three women, defending seats, the Conservatives one and another selected to capture the Party’s number one target seat in Gillingham and Rainham. Respect also has chosen a Muslim candidate in Bethnal Green and Bow to stand instead of George Galloway, who is seeking re-election in the newly created Poplar and Limehouse next door. But Abjol Miah faces the unique challenge of Muslim rivals selected by all three main parties in the most populous Muslim constituency.

Ridley wins payout from Islam Channel

Former Sunday Express journalist Yvonne Ridley has won a case for unfair dismissal and sexual discrimination against The Islam Channel. The three-person tribunal panel ruled that Ridley had been dismissed by the digital channel and upheld her complaint of sexual discrimination and harassment. Her case, which was part-funded by the NUJ, was held in London in February and heard evidence from a number of figures in support of her claims including the Respect MP George Galloway. Ridley, who resigned from the channel in April last year, complained that she had effectively been dismissed after relations between her and the channel’s chief executive, Mohammed Ali broke, down. The tribunal ruling, on Thursday, April 17, said: “There is nothing in the statutory wording that suggests that the facts of this case should not lead a tribunal to the conclusion that the claimant’s dignity had been violated, on the basis that the words were spoken to an outsider. We find that the words had the purpose of violating her dignity because they were false.” Ridley was also found to have been unfairly dismissed by the tribunal, which ruled that the way she was treated was “riddled with unfairness” and that she was subjected to “a wholesale approach of seeking to blame her at various points”. Ben Dowell