Yorkshire Labour candidate accuses Tory rival of Islamophobia in official complaint

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A Yorkshire Labour candidate has accused her Tory rival of Islamophobia and using a "far-right trope" to attack Muslims.

Naz Shah, who is standing to be re-elected in Bradford West, has hit out at Conservative candidate Linden Kemkaran, over posts on Twitter.

Ms Shah alleges that Mrs Kemkaran retweeted posts from a user who called Islam a “nasty culture” and who said Muslims “play [the] race card”.

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And that during a hustings event at Bradford College last week Mrs Kemkaran described Bradford as having “no go areas” and “crime-infested streets”, which Ms Shah said was a “far-right trope used to attack, demonise and other minority communities”.

Mrs Kemkaran since undone the retweets but said: “Of course I don’t think Muslim culture is negative or “nasty” – quite the opposite in fact.

“When I interact with anyone I see the human being first, that matters way more than colour/religion/sexuality etc. I wish others would do the same.”

However Ms Shah has now complained to the Conservative Party, who confirmed they were investigating. A spokesman said: “This matter is being investigated. Discrimination or abuse of any kind is wrong, and the Conservative party takes decisive action to deal with any incidents of hatred, abuse or intimidation.”

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She said: “To peddle these far-right tropes especially by an individual standing for office is not only irresponsible but hugely dangerous for minority communities. The lives and experiences of any community is not something to play political football with, as it has real life consequences.

Labour's Naz Shah. Photo: JPI MediaLabour's Naz Shah. Photo: JPI Media
Labour's Naz Shah. Photo: JPI Media

“Any individual that empowers such dangerous and hateful speech, standing for office must be suspended immediately and a full investigation on the issue should take place.”

In a response on Twitter Mrs Kemkaran said: “Can I just make it absolutely clear that I didn’t and never would describe Islam or any other culture as ‘nasty’. I’m the product of a multi-cultural/heritage background and a constant promoter of diversity and equality.”