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.
Next week’s election promises a swathe of new faces in the House of Commons. Not only are we witnessing the largest number of MPs to retire in 60 years but, with a record number of Asian women also standing, Britain could have its first female Muslim MP.
This breakthrough moment in politics has already happened for Muslim men with Mohammad Sarwar voted in Glasgow Central in 1997. Khalid Mahmood was the first in England when he won the Birmingham Perry Barr seat in 2001 and the race to be among the first female Muslim MPs could also be played out in the second city.
Salma Yaqoob, according to one newspaper the most prominent Muslim woman in British politics, is the Respect Party prospective parliamentary candidate for the Birmingham Hall Green constituency. Labour’s Shabana Mahmood is fighting Clare Short’s seat in Ladywood along with Nusrat Ghani, who is standing for the Conservatives.
Sparkbrook – within the Hall Green constituency – and Small Heath now broken up between different wards – has the largest percentage of Muslim voters of any UK constituency at 48.8%, according to the 2001 census.
The leader of the Liberal Democrats has promised he will fight against anti-Muslim discrimination perpetrated by the government and the police in many guises.
Riding high in the opinion polls and looking set to be a potential kingmaker after the 6th May election, Nick Clegg told this newspaper exclusively that his party was completely against the anti-Muslim prejudice at all levels and will campaign to end the discrimination that hurts Muslim communities, from restricting stop and search, to scrapping control orders, to getting innocent people off the DNA database.
“We’re also pushing for changes to reduce discrimination against Muslims in the work place, including anonymous job application forms and pay audits to make sure people aren’t being paid unfairly,” Clegg said, who whop has seen his star rise in the last few weeks in a way unseen in the modern political history.
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.