Bob Blackman, Conservative MP for Harrow East has been condemned for hosting a visit by Hindu nationalist Tapan Ghosh to the House of Commons last week. (See previous post)
According to Middle East Eye LINK :
A spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain, said it was "astounding" that Ghosh was "welcomed with open arms" to parliament given that he "trades in propagating hatred against Muslims in India.
It added: "Ghosh is a founder of a far-right party in that country and in this year we have heard of shocking murders against Muslims, very often linked to the kind of anti-Muslim rhetoric emanating from people like Ghosh.
"If we are to tackle extremism as the government has stated it wants to, then we should not see it emanating on its own doorstep and apparently condoned by its own MPs."
TellMAMA the organisation that monitors anti-Muslim attacks made the following demands LINK:
We are calling for the following:
· That Parliament’s Sergeant-at-Arms open up a formal investigation into how Ghosh came to be in Parliament and that some serious questions be asked of Bob Blackman MP. The investigation should then be published as a learning tool for other MP’s.
· That Blackman be removed from the DCLG Committee that he sits on, until he can explain his actions and apologise for hosting an anti-Muslim extremist in our country’s Parliament.
· That all MP’s and their offices receive a notice from the Sergeant-at-Arms regarding undertaking due diligence checks on speakers whom they invite in.
· That Blackman contact us and meet with a Rohingya refugee, to listen first hand at the appalling genocide that has been conducted against this defenceless people by Burma’s military junta, which itself has been legitimised by Aung Saan Su Kyi.
At a local level Harrow East Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Harrow East, Adam Bernard, condemned the invitation as 'unacceptable and dangerous' LINK:
“An area as religiously diverse as Harrow East deserves better than an MP who invites hatemongers to inflame tensions between communities.“Mr Blackman needs to realise that his job is to represent people from all communities and of all faiths and nationalities.“If he can’t get the hang of that, perhaps he should consider a change of career?“
In a tweet, Navin Shah, Labour AM for Brent and Harrow said:
“Hardly surprising to see Bob Blackman rubbing shoulders with Tapan Ghosh &Tommy Robinson. Most appalling & disgusting. Deserves condemnation“.Emma Wallace, The Green Party's General Election candidiate in 2017 said:
Meanwhile the Home Office moved to distance Home Secretary Amber Rudd from Ghosh:'Whilst I am saddened to read that the MP for Harrow East hosted such a divisive figure in parliament I am not particularly surprised. As we have seen previously with Mr Blackman, he seems more concerned to court certain electorate groups that will keep him in power, rather than represent his diverse constitutents. At a time when the UK appears increasingly divided, with religious hate crime has increasing considerably it seems particularly important that MPs try to unite and form cohesive communities rather than divide. It is unacceptable that Tapan Ghosh was invited to Parliament, there should be no platform for him to spread his false or harmful views in this country or anywhere else.'
A Home Office spokesperson said: “The Home Secretary fundamentally disagrees with Mr Ghosh’s views on Islam.“The Home Secretary accepted an invitation from the Hindu Forum of Britain to attend an event in Parliament last week to celebrate Diwali. She did not speak to Mr Ghosh and was not present when he spoke.”
There is this Hope Not Hate petition people can sign to condemn Bob Blackman for hosting Mr Ghosh:We condemn MPs for hosting Tapan Ghosh in Parliament '