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Britain's Conservative Party has an Islamophobia problem

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How many times does Conservative peer Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Britain's first Muslim woman cabinet member, have to say the same thing to be heard? For the past couple of years, she has been trying to make her colleagues and the press listen to her when she says Islamophobia is a serious issue in the Conservative Party. Unfortunately, she has repeatedly been ignored.

Last week, she raised the issue once again: She accused Prime Minister Theresa May of "burying her head in the sand" over Islamophobia, adding that she believes the Tories had become "institutionally Islamophobic". For once, her complaints seemed to get some traction - not long after her comments made headlines in the British media, fourteen Conservative Party members were suspended for Islamophobic Facebook posts. But a few suspensions don't get to the heart of the matter - the scale and the roots of the problem are still being drowned out.

When asked about Baroness Warsi's comments Conservative MP Henry Smith gave a flavour of just how Britain's governing elite fails to understand racism in general and Islamophobia in particular - he claimed Islamophobia wasn't a significant issue in the Conservative Party because "he hadn't come across it".

This, unfortunately, seems to be the logic used by many Conservative politicians when dealing with accusations of racism directed at their party. Their thinking goes, if they do not see or experience something, there is no issue. Of course, they do not dwell too much on the fact that they clearly wouldn't be natural targets of........

© Al Jazeera