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Pak-origin Labour MP, who admitted to anti-semitism, rakes up the issue of alleged ‘Islamophobia’ in India during Boris Johnson’s visit

While reacting to the comments made by Naz Shah, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Times Now anchor Rahul Shivshankar, "MPs say a lot of things… it’s not the job of one country to preach to another.”

Hours after the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson landed in India for a 2-day visit, Pakistani-origin Labour Party MP Naz Shah raked up the issue of Islamophobia to thwart bilateral ties between India and the UK.

Shah, who is a Member of Parliament from Bradford West constituency, had claimed on Thursday (April 21), “My message to Boris Johnson on his visit to India is that our nation’s foreign relations must not just be based on trade & internationalism but also on human rights.”

“My plea to the UK Prime Minister is to raise the growing issue of Islamophobia with the Modi Government…The rising tide of everyday hate & mob lynching against Muslims in India is becoming worrying,” she further alleged.

In a desperate bid, the Pakistani-origin MP alleged that Muslim women in India are being forced to choose between their education and religion. She, however, forgot to add that the Karnataka High Court had upheld that the hijab is not an essential practice in Islam and that the uniform is a reasonable restriction on the Right to Religion.

She then raked up the issue of Jammu and Kashmir and the abrogation of Article 370 to further sensationalise the issue.

“We must not forget the grave situation of human rights in Indian-administered Kashmir. The revocation of Article 370, international black-outs, mass unmarks graves, Kashmir’s half-widows & the people of Kashmir deserve their voices heard. We have a historic duty to Kashmir”, she had tweeted.

Naz Shah had further claimed, “I ask Boris Johnson when the alarm bells of genocide, the daily lynching of Muslims, calls for rape of Muslim women & the systematic nature Islamophobia in India is being normalised, as someone who claims to be a champion of human rights, will you raise these issues with PM Modi?

“The UK prides itself on human rights and successive UK Govt’s have worked to protect the rights of women & girls worldwide. To be silent, whilst a minority Muslim population in India is being persecuted & Muslim women are at the centre of such hate, would be cowardice,” the Bradford West MP added.

The Pakistani-origin Labour MP also pleaded with the Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson to not just speak on trade, on internationalism but also on the human rights of minority communities in India and its Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

Boris Johnson ignores Naz Shah, Indian Minority Affairs Minister responds

While reacting to the comments made by Naz Shah, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Times Now anchor Rahul Shivshankar, “MPs say a lot of things… it’s not the job of one country to preach to another.”

While slamming the Labour Party MP, Indian Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi tweeted, “Please, don’t convert your prejudiced agenda of “India Phobia” into “Islamophobia”. Every Indian citizen including Minorities is safe and secure in India. “Co-existence” is our commitment and “Inclusivity” is our culture.”

When Naz Shah was suspended over Anti-Semitic remarks

After securing a seat in the British Parliament in 2015 and becoming the Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to John McDonnell the following year, Naz Shah courted controversy over the brazen display of anti-semitism in a 2014 Facebook post.

In her post. the Pakistani-origin British MP superimposed a distorted map of Israel on top of the US map and touted that the migration of the Jewish nation was the only option to resolve the Israel-Palestine crisis. “Problem solved and save you bank charges for £3 billion you transfer yearly,” she had tweeted.

Screengrab of the Facebook post by Naz Shah

She was seen reiterating the statements, often made by Islamists to claim ‘illegal occupation’ by Jewish people on alleged Palestinian land. “Only problem with that is Israel would need to return all the land and farms it has stolen and give the Palestinians rights which is not possible (therefore I will tweet Barrack Obama and David Cameron and put this idea to them?)”, Naz Shah had commented.

Screengrab of the Facebook comments by Naz Shah

The Pakistani-origin MP was also seen endorsing claims of Israel committing war crimes against the Palestinian people. “The Jews are rallying”, one of the captions read. Owing to her brazen anti-Jewish rhetorics, Naz Shah was suspended from the Labour Party in April 2016.

Screengrab of the Facebook post by Naz Shah

She also resigned from the post of PPS to John McDonnell. However, she was reinstated back into the party by July of that year.

While speaking about the matter, Naz told the BBC, “I wasn’t anti-Semitic, what I put out was anti-Semitic…The truth is that some of the stuff I have since looked at and understood, I didn’t know at the time.”

“The language I used was anti-Semitic, it was offensive. What I did was I hurt people and the language that was the clear anti-Semitic language, which I didn’t know at the time, was when I said, ‘The Jews are rallying. I had never come across it. I think what I had was an ignorance,” she had remarked.

Naz Shah was re-elected from the Bradford West constituency yet again in 2019.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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Dibakar Dutta
Dibakar Dutta
Centre-Right. Political analyst. Assistant Editor @Opindia. Reach me at [email protected]

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