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“Why I’m voting Labour”

Today is the day. The Great British electorate will go to the polls in what has been billed as the election of a generation. After six gruelling weeks kicked off with mocking Grenfell victims and concluding with the PM refusing to view the picture of a child being treated on the floor of a hospital, we will finally have an answer.

So to whom will I lend my vote? The following are my reasons, inspired by my faith, to vote.

Our noble Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said:

“Be merciful to those on the earth, so the One above the heavens will be merciful to you.”[1]

Our noble Prophet instructed us to have compassion for others. There are numerous narrations extolling the virtues of visiting and, by extension, attending to the needs of the sick.

The last decade has seen extensive cuts to the NHS, epitomised most recently by the now-infamous photograph of four-year-old Jack Williment-Barr lying on a hospital floor receiving treatment. The NHS has catapulted the issue to the forefront of the election campaign, if it wasn’t already there. Whilst some with a nefarious agenda may have cried “fake news” upon sight of the photograph, falsely accusing the child’s mother of staging the scene, more humane people will have realised that this photograph is evidence that the NHS is in crisis and needs a radical re-think.

The Conservative Party claims that an electoral victory for them will result in 40 new hospitals being built. However, this figure has been held up to scrutiny and it appears that the actual figure is closer to six. Not only does this raise, yet again, the issue of trustworthiness for the Conservatives, it also highlights the fear that with the Conservatives at the helm the NHS is in dire trouble. The spectre of privatisation has loomed large over the NHS for some time but that prospect is ever closer with the advent of Brexit and the potential US demand that the NHS forms part of future trade negotiations.

Our noble Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said:

“A man is not a believer who fills his stomach while his neighbour is hungry.”[2]

The recent episode of “Dispatches – children on the breadline” made for shocking and sobering viewing. It is little wonder that the episode went viral when the sight of children experiencing poverty and having to accompany their parents to food banks drove home the point that, in the sixth largest economy in the world, one million people have no option but to turn to food banks in order to feed themselves and/or their children.

Whilst the official stance adopted by the Conservatives may be that the reasons for increased food bank use are complex and varied, this is not the case. Put simply, the last decade of austerity and massive cuts in the public sector and to welfare spending has resulted in a society where some children routinely rely on food banks and other charitable initiatives to feed them. This cannot be right.

To add further misery to the situation, the problem has been exacerbated by the consolidation of benefits into a single payment called ‘Universal Credit’. This system has been plagued by problems and errors since its inception. This has resulted in many people not receiving the benefits they are entitled to on time, or indeed at all, which in turn has the effect of plunging them into a spiral of debt and crisis. It is at these moments when, in the absence of all other support, they turn to food banks and the like.

Ending austerity is a key Labour pledge that has featured heavily throughout their election campaign. It is hoped that, whichever party wins the election, the necessity for food banks within our communities is removed.

Our noble Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said:

“Jibreel kept urging me that neighbours should be treated well until I thought he would make them heirs.”[3]

We live in troubling times, with hate crime rising against all minorities. Whilst the Conservative Party stands accused of peddling dog whistle and at times out right offensive tactics, it is the Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn that is seeking to heal the country. A vote for Labour would be a vote to seek harmony between the different communities that make up this country.

Our noble Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said:

“Take care of this earth for she is your mother. No one does good or evil on her except that she will speak of it (on the Last Day).” [4]

Both parties have jostled for position as the greenest party and pledged to introduce environmental policies aimed at combatting climate change. The Conservatives pride themselves on the catchy phrase “Vote Blue, Go Green” whilst Labour has demonstrated more substance to its policy than mere sloganeering. The Labour Party came out top on the Friends of the Earth climate nature league table with the Conservatives expectedly at the bottom.[5] Labour’s ground breaking Green New Deal is a programme which will decarbonise the UK “through a radical policy package to increase social and economic justice” with a target to achieve net-zero emissions by 2030.[6]

The Qur’ān states:

“O you who believe! If a liar comes to you with any news, verify it, lest you should harm people in ignorance, and afterwards you will become regretful for what you have done.”[7]

If this is the era of fake news, then this election has been one of misrepresentation, from the Conservative party rebranding its twitter account as a fact checking organisation, to the Prime Minister denying that press were present when visiting a hospital as he was being filmed by the same phantom press. We need not mention the pocketing phones or hiding in fridges, or even the scandalous threat to remove Channel 4’s broadcasting license because of ice sculptures.[8] If the conduct of the Conservative Party is a glimpse of what is to come in the next half decade, then we are truly looking at a dystopian future. This future exemplified by a recent analysis of Facebook ads, which found that 88% of Tory ads were misleading whilst 0% of Labour ads were.[9]

For me the choice is clear: I will be voting for a brighter future for all our communities. I will vote for the children living in poverty. I will vote for the mothers in food banks. I will vote so that the billionaires are held to account. I will vote for the fathers who struggle to make ends meet and take their frustrations out on those who look different to them. I will vote for the orphans in Yemen.[10] I will vote for the people of Palestine.[11] I will vote because this country, our country, can be so much more.

Source: www.islam21c.com

Notes:

[1] Al-Tabarānī and al-Hākim with a sahīh (authentic) chain

[2] Al-Ādāb al-Mufrad, Sahīh al-Albānī

[3] Muslim (265)

[4] Ṭabarānī, al-Kabīr 5:65, ruled authentic by al-Albānī, al-Ṣaḥīḥah (1792)

[5] https://friendsoftheearth.uk/general-election/election-manifestos-labour-tops-friends-earths-climate-and-nature-league-table

[6] https://www.labourgnd.uk/

[7] Al-Qur’ān 49:6

[8] https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/boris-johnson-ice-sculpture-channel-4-debate-michael-gove-leaders-climate-emergency-a9225416.html

[9] https://metro.co.uk/2019/12/10/investigation-finds-88-tory-ads-misleading-compared-0-labour-11651802/

[10] Policy pledge: Labour has pledged to suspend UK arms sales to Israel and Saudi Arabia for their use on Palestinian and Yemeni civilians, respectively.

[11] Labour has pledged to officially recognise the state of Palestine.

About Dr Izzadeen Chowdhury

One comment

  1. A totally materialistic argument by the author why to vote Labour without taking into account fitna and immorality, like the teaching of LGBT in schools; the consequences of a cancelled Brexit; or whether Labour actually has any policies specific to Muslims. I’m dismayed and upset with the pro-Labour bias of the Islamic media with very few critical articles about Labour or Jeremy Corbyn in order to create a more balanced perspective.

    The Labour Party election manifesto says precious little about matters specific to Islam and Muslims although it is liberally sprinkled with references to BAME.

    The National Education Service section states: “We will review the curriculum to ensure that it enriches students and covers subjects such as black history and continues to teach issues like the Holocaust” on page 39, and in the Women and Equalities Section it states: “Create an Emancipation Educational Trust to educate around migration and colonialism, and to address the legacy of slavery and teach how it interrupted a rich and powerful black history which is also British history” on page 67.

    However, it says nothing about including Islamic history (such as the Golden Age of Islam) in the National Curriculum, or a greater emphasis on teaching Islam in religious studies lessons, rather than Christianity and ethics and philosophy which currently dominates the curriculum.

    On counter-terrorism, the Police and Security section states: “We will review the Prevent programme to assess both effectiveness and potential to alienate communities and consider alternatives including safeguarding programmes to protect those vulnerable to the recruitment propaganda and ideologies of the far-right and others who promote terror as a political strategy” on page 44, and “We will ensure the powers exercised by the security services are proportionate and used in accordance with human rights” on page 43.

    However, there is no visible commitment to repeal Prevent or any of the counter-terrorism legislation enacted by the Blair government or the successive Conservative government.

    Also on page 43 it states: “A police force working within our communities, with the capacity to gather local intelligence, is also the frontline of our domestic security – the first eyes and ears of effective counter-terrorism” and “We will ensure closer counter terrorism co-ordination between the police and the security services, combining neighbourhood expertise with international intelligence”.

    In other words, more spying on and surveillance of Muslims by the police and MI5.

    The Labour Party have pledged to introduce abortion, on-demand, for any reason, right up to birth.

    Their election manifesto states: “We will uphold women’s reproductive rights and decriminalise abortions” on page 48 – in the Justice section rather than the NHS and Social Care section.
    Jeremy Corbyn personally supports the full decriminalisation of abortion.
    https://wheredotheystand.org.uk/t/islington-north/jeremy-corbyn

    Jeremy Corbyn is renowned for being a long time advocate of homosexuality and LGBT rights since his days as a London councillor in the 1970s and he has voted unwavering in favour of nearly every piece of LGBT rights legislation since he was elected as an MP in 1983. He also voted in favour of same sex marriages on three occasions between 2013 and 2019.
    https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/10133/jeremy_corbyn/islington_north/divisions?policy=826
    https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/10133/jeremy_corbyn/islington_north/divisions?policy=6686

    The Labour Party has pledged make RSE compulsory in schools and incorporate LGBT rights and history into the National Curriculum.

    Their election manifesto states: “Put LGBT+ equality at the heart of government, ensuring our public services are LGBT+ inclusive and delivering on the national LGBT Action Plan” and “Provide sufficient funding for schools to deliver mandatory LGBT+ inclusive relationships and sex education” on page 69.

    The advocacy group MEND has created an infographic comparing several policies of the establishment political parties, and concluded that the Labour Party best meets the priorities of the Muslim community. My verdict is that they have misled voters by failing to factor in variables of (im)morality and fitna, and they appear on matters relating to minorities to have somewhat conflated matters specifically relevant to Muslims with those intended for ethnic minorities in general. MEND has also failed to factor in an intelligent handling of Brexit – one of the most prominent issues in this general election. Every man on the street will tell you that Labour is ambiguous when it comes to Brexit and over the past three years Jeremy Corbyn has changed his position on Brexit like the weather.

    This might be a very bitter pill to swallow but my plea is for Muslims to forget tuition fees, forget ten years of crushing austerity, forget the NHS, forget Islamophobia in the Conservative Party and Boris as PM, as compelling reasons to vote Labour and instead focus on upholding moral standards and combating fitna. I find it difficult to understand how any Muslim, or even non-Muslim of high moral standards, could ever support Labour with many of the social policies it has. My own belief is that Jeremy Corbyn is not a hero but a villain and Muslims who support him have sadly been taken for a ride.

    The strapline of Labour is “For the many, not the few”. The truth is that secularists and social liberals are the many and Muslims are the few.

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