Opinion: Why Muslims must join the Labour party to vote in the upcoming leadership election

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The Labour leadership election will be taking place shortly. It is imperative that we come out and support a candidate that will be both effective and support the socialist (is this now a dirty word?) agenda.

The general election result on 12 December 2019 cast a dark cloud over many Muslim families living in the UK. The fear of the implications of a majority Conservative government, with Boris Johnson at the helm (who has made a number of controversial statements against Muslims), has led to many conversations in Muslim homes discussing whether they should even move abroad.

Shortly after the Conservative win, we all saw the media reports of Tommy Robinson joining the Conservative Party and Britain First calling for their followers to join the Conservative Party. The Independent reported that an email had been sent by Britain First to thousands of their followers which said “If you haven’t joined the Conservative Party yet, we urge you to do so immediately, to make Boris Johnson’s leadership more secure.” 

Minorities including Muslims should not take this lightly, as it is clear the Conservative Party has moved towards the right, as thousands of people could potentially be joining the party from Britain First. We should all be very concerned about the development of policy, especially with a majority government. The Conservatives no longer need to forge alliances with other parties or moderate their voices, as they can simply do as they please. Their proposed laws can be passed, as they do not need the support from MPs of other parties. 

It was only a few days after the election that we heard media reports that the Government was planning to pass legislation against Boycott Divestment and Sanction (BDS) activities. This is a direct attack on Article 10 of the Human Rights Act 1998, where “everyone has the right to freedom of expression” in the UK. We should all be free to speak about the Palestinian suffering or support BDS if we wish to do so. 

What can we as individuals do? Well, we need to support the opposition to ensure that there is at least a strong voice in Parliament who will speak up about the issues that affect all communities in the UK, such as; foreign policy, climate change, NHS, social welfare, education, police and protection of religious & ethnic minorities. 

The Labour leadership election will be taking place shortly. It is imperative that we come out and support a candidate that will be both effective and support the socialist (is this now a dirty word?) agenda. How do I decide which candidate to support? You should look at both a candidate’s voting record and you should check whether they were part of the internal coup against Jeremy Corbyn who has always fought for Palestinian rights and is a veteran of the anti-war movement. 

I joined the Labour Party when Jeremy Corbyn became the leader of the Labour Party. He voted against the war in Iraq, fought against racism and defended the rights of the working class throughout his political life. He is the reason the Labour Party has now moved towards the left when previously Blair’s New Labour controlled the party. It is for this reason, I will be voting for Rebecca Long-Bailey for Leader who is the Shadow Business Secretary, a socialist supported by the Labour leadership and Richard Burgon who is the Shadow Justice Secretary, who is openly supportive of Palestinian rights, is anti-war and a clear socialist. 

I ask that you support these two candidates even if you do not support socialist policies, as the Conservatives are likely to be in power for the next 10 years due to the proposed changes which include boundary changes and repealing the Fixed Term Parliament Act. We need to ensure that the Labour Party does not move back towards the centre as some of the current candidates in the leadership race have shown support for Tony Blair in the past. We need a voice that will at least stand up against the changes that will impact all our communities. 

How can I take part in the Labour leadership election? 

The ftu1. Join the party

You must join the party before 5pm on Monday 20 January in order to take part and vote in the Leadership and Deputy Leadership elections. The membership fees vary depending on your circumstances but they range from £2.21 to £4.38 per month. You can join the party online using the following link https://join.labour.org.uk/?utm_source=website&utm_medium=actionmenu or by calling 0345 092 2299.

2. Register as a supporter to vote 

You can register to vote by paying £25.00 but only if you are a member of an affiliated organisation. Please see the following link for details of the affiliate organisations https://support.labour.org.uk/. In order to be eligible to vote, you must be a member of the affiliate organisation by 5pm on Monday 20 January AND you must sign up to be an Affiliated Supporter by 5pm on Monday 3 February.

3. Remember to vote

You will be able to vote online between Friday 21 February and 12pm on Thursday 2 April. 

4. Results 

The results will be announced on Saturday 4 April. 

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