For immediate release
USING THE MUSLIM VOTE
Surprise answers to questionnaires, from ppc’s in key seats
Results to the Muslimelection ’97 questionnaire to ppc’s across the country are being collated and assessed. Prospective parliamentary candidates were posed 15 questions regarding their stance on issues of concern to the Muslim voter. These included questions on education, dress, religious discrimination legislation, immigration and asylum, candidates’ contacts with and perceptions of the Muslim community, trade and foreign policy.
The replies have astounded researchers. Only 23% of candidates in key marginal seats where the Muslim population is greater than the sitting MP’s majority answered. Just over half of those who replied completed the questionnaire. It was heartening to note that some showed genuine concern for Muslims issues. However the majority of answers showed an unwillingness or inability to address these concerns. The results show no party to be more in tune with Muslim needs.
Statistically, Muslim voters often have a higher turnout than other communities, and this year as before their vote has been courted by high level visits to these constituencies. Given the recent report into Islamophobia by the Runneymede Trust and other works showing Muslims to be the most deprived and discriminated against community in the country, the response to this particular research exposes the arrogance of politicians of all political parties. On the one hand they refuse to address the needs of Muslim voters, on the other they expect them to turn out in support of them blindly.
Indications suggest that this will not be the case this time. With few candidates showing any real interest in the needs of the Muslim community, it will be unsurprising if this time Muslims vote on the individual issues and not along old party lines.
Muslimelection ’97 is a research project set up to assess the needs and concerns of the Muslim voter, and how adequately they are being recognised and addressed by politicians. It will continue its research beyond the general election. It aims to help create a better awareness amongst politicians of Muslim needs It also aims to create a better understanding amongst Muslims of how to access decision making processes.
If you would like more information, please contact Massoud Shadjareh on 0958 522 196, or any of the numbers below.
IHRC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
Telephone: (+44) 20 8904 4222