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More discrimination awaits Muslims under British Premier Sunak

November 15, 2022 at 2:39 pm

Rishi Sunak is greeted by supporters as he arrives at the Conservative Party Campaign Headquarters in London, United Kingdom on October 24, 2022 [Wiktor Szymanowicz/Anadolu Agency]

Rishi Sunak, Britain’s new Prime Minister, is guilty of using discriminatory rhetoric against Muslims and, under his government, “more discrimination” awaits Muslims, according to a British political scientist, Anadolu News Agency reports.

Suella Braverman, Sunak’s choice for Home Secretary, came under fire late last month after branding people seeking asylum in the UK – many with darker skin, often from Muslim countries – an “invasion”, but she has remained at her post, despite the xenophobic remarks.

Braverman’s remarks, as well as Sunak’s remarks about Islam and extremism, show the direction of the government’s immigration policies, said Muhammed Cagri Bilir of the University of Leeds School of Politics and International Studies.

“When Sunak launched a campaign for the Conservative leadership (to become Prime Minister), he produced a discourse such as the fight against ‘Islamic extremism’ and equating Islam with terrorism”, Bilir told Anadolu Agency.

“He was criticised for ignoring the demands of Muslim deputies to take a clear stand against Islamophobia. As a result, he received a lot of backlash,” he said.

A 2019 study found Islamophobia rife within the ruling Conservative Party, and Boris Johnson, who stepped down from the premiership this July, was known for making Islamophobic remarks.

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“Not much will change during Sunak’s term,” added Bilir, warning that, in fact, “we are entering a period where more discrimination awaits Muslims.”

“In Sunak government’s approach to immigration, asylum seekers are categorised, and a distinction is made as to whether they really escaped from human rights violations or whether they came with only economic motives,” he explained.

“The legitimacy of the asylum requests of those who came by boat, especially via France, is being questioned,” he added.

Bilir said that those seeking asylum in the UK will be strictly examined under the Rwanda plan, a controversial plan announced by Johnson this April to send people seeking asylum in Britain to the small African nation of Rwanda to await a decision.

On 24 October, Sunak succeeded Liz Truss, the UK’s shortest-serving Prime Minister, who served for only 44 days.

Sunak, of Indian origin, made history as the country’s first Prime Minister from an Asian background.