Being a Muslim and a Conservative is hard and it may get harder

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According to the Conservative Muslim Forum (CMF) website, it is perfectly logical to follow Islam and support Britain’s ruling party. There is plenty of overlap, the CMF contends, between big-C Conservatism and conservative religion in many of its views on personal behavior. As the Forum says:

We believe that the fundamental values ​​of British Muslims, such as the importance of the family, skepticism about state control, belief in private enterprise, low taxes and personal responsibility make them natural Conservatives.

But this is a minority position among Britain’s Muslim voters, who vote overwhelmingly for Labour, and in recent days it has become even more difficult. to maintain It follows a burst of well-aimed invective from Boris Johnson, the maverick politician who resigned as foreign secretary last month, accusing the government of going soft on Brexit . In a newspaper column, he used the full range of his colorful vocabulary to insult Muslim women’s face coverings, even as he argued that Britain should not follow Denmark in banning the such clothes.

If you say it’s weird and bullying to expect women to cover their faces, I totally agree – and I’d say I can’t find any scriptural authority for the Koran’s practice. I would go further and say that it is absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letter boxes.

Mr Johnson said employers should have the right to enforce a “dress code” in which faces could still be seen.

Conservative Party co-chair Baroness Sayeeda Warsi immediately accused the politician of “making another leadership bid” by trying to use Muslim women as a “political football” thus increasing his already high profile among rank-and-file Conservatives. His Pakistani counterparts were pessimistic about the chances of him being punished. Indeed, Theresa May slapped Mr Johnson’s wrist, albeit lightly; The Prime Minister said his words had “clearly offended”. But Mr Johnson (whose great-grandfather was an Ottoman Muslim editor and politician) made it known through friends that he was not prepared to go back: he thought the attempt was a “stupid” one. backlash against “closing the debate.”

Mohammed Amin, chairman of the CMF, told Erasmus that Johnson’s brouhaha had produced a real moment for Muslim Conservatism. Despite the semi-successful efforts of David Cameron, the former prime minister, to disinfect the Tory brand among minorities, the party has always underperformed among Muslims, as he recognized Mr. Amin. Even for demographic groups with a natural tendency towards Conservatism, such as small business owners, Labor was seen as a more natural choice for followers of Islam. The Tories managed to attract British Muslims who believed in self-improvement, education and stable families, but not in sufficient numbers.

Depending on the response to Mr Johnson’s outburst, this situation will get better or worse, according to Mr Amin, an accountant based in Manchester. If the rambunctious politician is disciplined or if he repeats correctly, the fortunes of Muslim Tory could be going up in the near future. But if Mr Johnson appears to be vindicated, it will be harder than ever for voters to follow his party and the dictates of the Koran, despite the politician’s claim to be an inter- the translator of that book.

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