'Labour alienating Muslims' says ex-Momentum member standing for Tories

Redbridge Town Hall. Picture: Ken Mears

Redbridge Town Hall. - Credit: Ken Mears

Redbridge Labour is alienating Muslims in the borough, according to a community leader who left the party to join the Tories this year. 

Khalid Sharif, founder of IG-Soc and a senior figure in the Federation of Redbridge Muslim Organisations, is one of three Conservative Party candidates for the Clayhall ward in the 2022 local elections. 

Until earlier this year Khalid had been an active member of the Labour Party and had previously been part of Momentum, a group which organises members on the left wing of the party. 

He told the Recorder that he believed Labour had taken Muslim voters for granted and that, locally, the concerns of Muslims had been ignored over issues such as Islamophobia, relationships and sex education (RSE) and the implementation of the Prevent programme. 

Khalid, who lives in Fulwell, said that while he did not agree with everything in the Conservative Party, the “key difference” from Labour was that he was “allowed to have a differing view”. 

“If you are not able to discuss and issue, to debate it, where is the democracy in your party?” he asked, giving the example of the recent dispute between the Labour-led Redbridge Council and Parents United, a Muslim parent action group

Khalid said that the parents had simply wanted to engaged in “fair and balanced” consultation over the RSE programme, but were dismissed. 

He said: “We weren’t asking for special treatment; we were saying 'please engage with us, this is a serious issue'. 

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“Locally, I think the Conservative Party are doing more on that front.” 

The former Momentum member said that Jeremy Corbyn had been “a breath of fresh air” but “that era has gone” and that “you are going to see more and more Muslims move away from the Labour Party”. 

He added the Conservative Party also “had to work harder” to engage with Muslims, but that the first step was “people like myself joining the party”. 

Redbridge Labour has not responded to a request for comment.