In spite of rising Islamophobia, a record number of Muslims were elected to the House of Commons in the UK’s recent election.
Muslim candidates won 19 seats in the December 12 poll, four higher than in the last election in 2017.
However, Muslims in the UK are far from a monolithic voter block, their 3.4 million population is considered electorally significant.
Out of the 220 women elected to parliament, 10 were Muslims.
Of those elected, 15 are members of the Labour Party and the other four are Conservatives.
During the campaign, the Labour Party fielded 33 Muslim candidates, while the ruling Conservative Party put forward 22.
Despite making up the numbers in the House of Commons, many Muslims are pessimistic about their future in the country after Boris Johnson’s Conservatives won a landslide.
In 2018, Johnson caused a media storm when he compared Muslim women wearing the face veil to postal boxes.
There is a “palpable sense of fear amongst Muslim communities” in the UK, the Muslim Council of Britain, the UK’s largest Muslim organisation stressed in its statement.
“We entered the election campaign period with longstanding concerns about bigotry in our politics and our governing party. Now we worry that Islamophobia is ‘oven-ready’ for the government. Mr Johnson has been entrusted with huge power, and we pray it is exercised responsibly for all Britons,” the Muslim body’s Secretary-General Harun Khan said.
The concerns raised by the organisation were echoed by former chairwoman of Conservative Party Baroness Sayeeda Warsi. The first female Muslim cabinet minister said that the Conservative Party “must start healing its relationship with British Muslims”.
The endorsement of the Conservative Party by leading hate figures, such as Tommy Robinson and Katie Hopkins, was “deeply disturbing”, Warsi said.
“An independent inquiry into Islamophobia is a must first step and the battle to root out racism must now intensify,” she added.
The election results came amid widespread distrust about Muslims across society.
A February 2019 survey found that one in three Britons saw Islam as a threat to British values, suggesting that stereotypical prejudices against Muslims are widespread.
Those sentiments have led to a sharp rise in anti-Muslim violence across the United Kingdom. For instance, after the Christchurch attack on a mosque in New Zealand, there was a 600 percent rise in violent attacks against Muslims.