Bob Blackman, the Conservative MP for Harrow-East hosted an anti-Muslim extremist in parliament on Wednesday 18th October. Tapan Ghosh, the founder and Chief Patron of Hindu Samhati was the keynote speaker at the event organised by the National Council of Hindu Temples entitled ‘Tolerating the Intolerant’. Mr Ghosh has previously praised the Rohingya genocide, called for Muslims migrants to leave their faith and claimed that “Islam has massacred over 669+ million non-Muslims since 622AD”.
Bob Blackman himself has an interesting past in being on the wrong side of history and in 2013 said he was ‘proud‘ of his High Court battle to block Nelson Mandela from being honoured with the freedom of Brent Council on the anti-Apartheid revolutionary’s visit to the UK in 1990.
At the event at the House of Commons earlier this month, Mr Ghosh said in his speech, “Your girls and daughters are threatened by grooming, but in our country, our land is threatened and our existence is threatened.”
He also talks about the ‘Hindu Defense Force’ he set up in his state to protect Hindu communities against Muslim violence.
Watch the full speech below:
Speaking to the Middle East Eye, Bob Blackman bizarrely spoke of an alleged problem in the UK of Hindu minorities being forced to convert, supposedly to Islam. He said: “One of the most worrying trends in recent years has been grooming and forced conversions of Hindu minorities in the UK and countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan. In our commitment as a nation to fight extremism and radicalisation, it is important to hear the voices of suppressed minorities.”
In tweets from the last 12 months, Tapan Ghosh has called on the UN to control birth rates of Muslims worldwide, speaking in praise of a ‘war against Islam’, claimed that ‘all Muslims are jihadis’ and much more. Here is just a selection:
Earlier this month Mr Ghosh was invited by the Hindu Forum Britain to speak at a Diwali event that was attended by Home Secretary Amber Rudd as well as other top Conservative Party politicians such as Damien Green.
When questioned about Mr Ghosh’s attendance, Trupti Patel, the president of Hindu Forum Britain, told Middle East Eye that her organisation had “checked everything about” Ghosh’s background and defended his views on Muslim attacks on Hindus.
“What he does is help Hindus in Bangladesh and West Bengal who have been treated really badly, and have had their villages burned. This person is doing good voluntary work,” she said.
She also said Ghosh had helped Hindu refugees who had been attacked by Rohingya in Burma. “Why are we going on about Rohingya Muslims all the time… Islamophobia is so annoying that our [Hindu] boys and girls are being treated so badly.”
The Conservative Party have a growing history of dabbling in Islamophobia and identity politics. Zac Goldsmith’s unsuccessful mayoral campaign in 2016 made ‘outrageous‘ attempts to link Labour’s Sadiq Khan with Islamist extremism. In 2010 Philip Hollobone MP called the burka “the religious equivalent of going around with a paper bag over your head with two holes for the eyes” and last year David Davies MP claimed that the Islamic tradition requiring women to wear face and head coverings is “an excuse for sexual violence against women”.
It’s time that the Conservative Party began to take a serious look at the growing wave of Islamophobia in the UK and begin to acknowledge and tackle their role in this narrative.